Representing Our Nation
Main Subject Area: Social Studies
Duration of Lesson: 45 minutes
Additional Subject Area Standard(s):
A bag of 485 pennies for each group
Coins Used in Lesson:
Grade Level(s): 6-8
1. Divide your class into groups of 4-5 students.
2. Instruct each group to research and list the number of representatives their own state has in both the House of Representatives as well as in Congress.
3. Once they have found this information, distribute a set of coins and a map to each group.
4. Instruct each group to add the representatives from their state together and count out the same number of pennies as representatives. One penny will denote each Congressperson.
5. Ask the groups to place their pile of pennies on top of the state that they live in.
6. Once each group has done this with their home state, have them divide the remaining 49 states amongst the group members. Each team member should research the number of representatives from each state in their set.
7. When the students have finished their research have them create and place separate stacks of pennies (as done in steps 4 and 5) on each state, to designate that state’s number of representatives.
8. When students finish their map, have each group discuss their observations about the map and the stacks of pennies.
9. After this discussion, have each student write a paragraph about any trends or patterns they notice. They should also write about why certain states have more or less representatives than others.
Assessment / Evaluation:
Differentiated Learning Options:
The students could create two separate maps, one for the Senate, and one for the House of Representatives. The groups could compare these two maps and discuss why they think the numbers of representatives are different in the two parts of Congress.