RDA News - May 2012

Welcome to the first issue of the Representative Democracy in America newsletter – bringing you updates from RDA partners – the Center on Congress at Indiana University, the National Conference of State Legislatures, and the Center for Civic Education.  In this issue you’ll find information about new and exciting resources.
Four new free resources from the Center on Congress are now available online on the Teaching with Primary Sources website (www.tpscongress.org):
Civic Quotes iPad App
The Civic Quotes iPad app includes 64 striking primary source images and notable quotations – from a variety of U.S. government leaders over the years—that cover four main topics: representative democracy, role and impact of government, democratic process/compromise, and citizen participation. Read the quotes, view primary source images related to the themes, learn more about the person being quoted, and take a quiz featuring questions from recent NAEP tests in civics. Civic quotes are searchable in various ways and can be shared via Facebook or email. Both the iPad version and a web-based version are available at http://www.tpscongress.org/civic-quotes/.
Congressional Moments Videos
Twelve 2-minute videos feature primary source images from the Library of Congress that illuminate key legislation throughout our nation’s history. The videos tell the stories behind the legislation and the lasting impact these decisions have made on our lives. Find these new videos at http://www.tpscongress.org/teachers/activities.php?id=6.
“Francis and Paul in ‘Citizens Unite: A Helpful Guide to Being a Better Citizen’”
Join Francis the Platypus and Paul the Robot in this entertaining 10-minute animated video designed for middle school students as they learn about our representative democracy and what it means to be a citizen. On their adventure into citizenship, Paul and Francis run into the ghost of James Madison, who has a lot to teach them about the big ideas that make our system of government so unique. In the process, they find out how the actions of the citizens who have come before us have helped shape our current-day society. They come to understand the many different things citizens can do to participate in our democracy. And they learn about the characteristics of good citizens. Watch this new video at http://www.tpscongress.org/citizens-unite/.
The Impact of Congress
This interactive module looks at the work of the First Congress, 1789-91, and its impact on the country over the years. Students will learn about eleven of the most important accomplishments of the First Congress through primary source images and documents—accomplishments that still have a major impact on our country today. Next students will engage in an activity that allows them to select another landmark session of Congress, explore its accomplishments, and respond to a series of questions that helps them delve deeper into the work of Congress. Finally, students will hear a concluding statement from former Congressman Lee Hamilton. Find this new interactive at http://www.tpscongress.org/teachers/activity.php?id=36.
The American Democracy Game
The National Conference of State Legislatures has developed an informative and easy to access online game on “American Democracy.” Students put themselves in the shoes of a lawmaker and find out what it is like to deal with public policy issues – discovering the different interests on each side of an issue and how negotiation and compromise can lead to a good result. This new online game is designed for middle school students and includes teacher guides and information. Play it today at http://democracygame.org.
The RDA Website
Continue to check out the Representative Democracy in America website at http://www.representativedemocracy.org/ for updated news and resources from the RDA partners. You’ll find links to videos from national RDA conference speakers, classroom materials, and other resources for civics education.
For more information about this newsletter or the RDA partner resources, contact the Center on Congress at congress@indiana.edu or 866-383-1032.