Lesson 7

Lesson Topics: Parliamentary Procedure; Participatory Budgeting Project Proposals (continued)


  • To practice parliamentary procedure
  • To continue crafting a participatory budget project proposal (in groups)

Skills to be Addressed:

  • Public speaking
  • Parliamentary procedure
  • Working with peers to create a proposal for a project to improve the city.


Students will

  • Continue collaborating with peers to create a project proposal to improve their district.
  • Be familiar with the basic terminology and concepts of parliamentary procedure.
  • Practice using parliamentary procedure.

Common Core Standards Addressed:

    • Come to discussions prepared, having read and researched material under study; explicitly draw on that preparation by referring to evidence from texts and other research on the topic or issue to stimulate a thoughtful, well-reasoned exchange of ideas.
    • Present information, findings, and supporting evidence such that listeners can follow the line of reasoning and the organization, development, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
    • Adapt speech to a variety of contexts and communicative tasks, demonstrating command of formal English when indicated or appropriate.
    • Propel conversations by posing and responding to questions that probe reasoning and evidence; ensure a hearing for a full range of positions on a topic or issue; clarify, verify, or challenge ideas and conclusions; and promote divergent and creative perspectives.
    • Work with peers to promote civil, democratic discussions and decision-making, set clear goals and deadlines, and establish individual roles as needed.

Timeframe: One 60-minute period.



I. Reviewing Parliamentary Procedure

Go over the answers to the two worksheets on parliamentary procedure, using the answer sheets.

II. Practicing Parliamentary Procedure

  • Explain: One of the powers of the City Council is to name or rename streets.  Streets are often named after famous persons who have made some contribution to the city or country.  Any councilor can propose a bill to name a street. 
  • Choose students to play the role of six city councilors in a “class council.”
  • Assign them the roles of
    • Councilor Short (President).
    • Councilor Knight
    • Councilor Day
    • Councilor Winter
    • Councilor Summer
    • Councilor Tall
  • Explain to the class the newly chosen councilors will be debating and voting on five bills, the street-naming bills in “Practicing Parliamentary Procedure: Street–Naming Bills.” Hand out copies of this and of the In-Class Meeting Agenda to all students (or display on a screen).
  • Give copies of “Practicing Parliamentary Procedure: Street–Naming Bills.” to the six volunteers, along with the description of his or her role in “In-class Council Roles” (cut and distribute).
  • Explain that you will play the role of council staff. Tell the non-council students they can also speak on each of these bills, in the time for public comment. Should they wish to speak, they should give their name to you, along with the name of the bill they wish to speak about. You will give these names to “President Short.”
  • When everyone understands what they are to do, begin the in-class “council” meeting. The student chosen to be Councilor Short will run the meeting.
  • Evaluate the “meeting,” and evaluate parliamentary procedure. Does it work? Could it be improved? (See the suggestion for homework.)

III. Students continue working in groups on participatory budgeting project proposals.

IV. Possible Homework

  • In Making Democracy Fun, the author, Josh Lerner, argues that if public meetings featured competition and collaboration they would be more fun and more people would participate.

    He suggests public meetings could include team challenges, clear rules, measurable progress such as scores and levels, and engaging sounds and visuals.

    He argues that even while democracy is losing power, games are becoming more influential. He challenges people to design good games that would make democracy fun.

    Come up with some ideas – or a game - to make a City Council meeting more fun.
  • Decide if you’d like to represent the class in the mock City Council. If so, tomorrow you’ll campaign and the class will vote.

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