COMMUNICATOR UPDATE: February 2003
Welcome to The Dirksen Congressional Center's "Communicator" - a
web-based e-newsletter providing educators with news and ideas to
enhance civic education and improve the understanding of Congress --
NEWS FROM THE DIRKSEN CENTER
<<< CALL FOR PARTICIPATION: Congress in the Classroom 2003 >>>
Congress in the Classroom is a national, award-winning education program
now in its eleventh year. It is sponsored by The Dirksen Congressional
Center located in Pekin, Illinois, in cooperation with Bradley
University, Peoria, Illinois, and is dedicated to the exchange of ideas
and information on teaching about Congress.
Congress in the Classroom is designed for secondary school teachers and
community college faculty who teach U.S. history, American government
civics, political science, social studies, or related subjects. Between
30 and 35 teachers from throughout the country are selected each year to
take part in the program. Nearly 200 applied for last year's workshop.
The 2003 program theme will be "An Overview of Congress." Individual
sessions will be offered on such topics as: (1) The case for
representative democracy, (2) What you can learn about Congress Members
from statistics, (3) How Members make decisions, (4) How does a bill
become a law? Not the way the textbooks say, (5) How does one lead
Congress? and (6) The Media and Congress. Participants will also gain
experience with The Center's educational Web site, CongressLink -
-- which features online access to lesson
plans, student activities, historical materials, related Web sites, and
subject matter experts. Throughout the program, participants will work
with national experts as well as colleagues from across the nation. This
combination of first-hand knowledge and peer-to-peer interaction will
present new ideas, materials, and a professionally enriching experience.
The workshop will take place from July 28 through July 31, 2003, on the
campus of Bradley University, Peoria, Illinois. Congress in the
Classroom is free to participants. Teachers who are selected for the
program will be required to post a $100 deposit which will be refunded
in full once they have completed the program. Participants also have the
option of purchasing one hour of graduate credit from Bradley
University. We expect the per hour charge for graduate credit to be from
$435 - $450.
Those teachers who are not selected for the program will have an
opportunity to register for the Web-based Congress in the Classroom
The deadline for applications is March 15, 2003. Enrollment is
competitive and limited to thirty-five. Selection will be determined by
The Center. Individuals will be notified of their acceptance status by
April 1, 2003.
Take a look at The Dirksen Center Web site -
-- to see
what participants say about the program. If you are interested in
registering for the Congress in the Classroom 2003 workshop, you can
complete an online registration form found at:
<<< THE POWERS OF CONGRESS >>>
Congress has both specific and implied powers under the Constitution.
The amendment process, as well as Congress's own legislative action, has
expanded these powers. Visit The Dirksen Center's Web suite -
- to help your students learn
about the powers of Congress and to understand how Congress, and the
other two branches of the federal government, has exercised those powers
given in the Constitution.
The Framers of the Constitution wanted to strengthen Congress. The
Articles of Confederation did not give enough power to Congress to
support the new nation. Find "The Powers of Congress" on our
AboutGovernment site at:
Under Article I, Section 8, of the Constitution, Congress is given 27
specific powers that are commonly known as the "enumerated powers." Our
CongressLink featured lesson plan offers an opportunity to present the
powers of Congress creatively, allowing the students to justify which
Congressional powers they believe are most important. Find "2, 4, 6, 8 .
. . Who Knows What's in Article I, Section 8? (or Powers of Congress)"
Implied powers derive from the right of Congress to make all laws
"necessary and proper" to carry out its enumerated powers. Implied
powers are not stated directly in the Constitution. In 1819, the Supreme
Court upheld the concept of implied powers in the landmark case,
"McCulloch v. Maryland." Learn more about this Supreme Court case that
relied on the elastic clause to justify a national bank. Find "McCulloch
v. Maryland (1819) - Landmark Supreme Court Cases" at:
In addition to the legislative powers of Congress enumerated in the
Constitution, there are limitations on congressional powers (Article I,
Section 9) -- http://www.congresslink.org/notes.html#nine
Constitution -- http://www.congresslink.org/resourc.html
enumerates the powers prohibited to the states (Article I, Section 10)
<<< Featured Project >>>
Our featured project this month is a WebQuest developed by The Dirksen
Center to introduce students to the concept of "influence" or "power" in
Congress. Find "WebQuest: How Influential is Your Member of Congress?"
Knowing about Congress could be considered an effective lobbying tool.
Find out how much you already know, or learn as you go, using the online
flashcards that you can flip through, print in a variety of formats with
custom fonts and font sizes, or download to a Palm Pilot or Windows CE
device. Find "Knowing About Congress" at:
<<< Congressional "Brain" Power >>>
1. Congress took advantage of one of its implied powers when, in the
_____ _____ Act of 1973, it tried to regulate when the President could
send U. S. troops into combat on foreign soil.
B) War Powers
C) Civil Rights
2. The last clause of Article I, Section 8 gives Congress its _____.
A) expressed powers
B) implied powers
C) enumerated powers
D) power of the purse
3. True or False: The elastic clause is used to justify wide expansion
of government authority.
<<< Student Web Activity >>>
Congressional powers are used to conduct investigations and for
legislative oversight. The history of Congressional oversight dates back
to the 1792 investigation of the government's handling of the Indian
Wars. Teachers, have your students conduct further research to learn
about other cases of Congressional oversight investigations. You could
have them create an annotated time line of these events using a poster
board or presentation software. Along with the date, suggest that they
write a brief summary of the background and highlights of the
investigation. It would be really cool if they included pictures or
illustrations to make their timeline more visually appealing. Your
students will find these Web sites helpful:
(1) Find "The General Principles of Congressional Oversight" at:
(2) Find "Committees of the House of Representatives" at:
(3) Find "The Weakening of Congressional Oversight" at:
Answers to January's issue of "Fun, Facts, and Trivia" link here:
Happy Valentine's Day! Encourage your colleagues to subscribe to the
Communicator. If you have questions, comments, or suggestions, contact
Cindy Koeppel at mailto:ckoeppel@...
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