State Class Homework

Note: Students attending a class in a state other than their own need to do the homework for the state where they are attending, not the state where they live. For example, if a student is from Idaho but is attending the Washington class, they need to do the homework for Washington.

Note: Students attending a class in Nebraska should complete the homework packets found here. DO NOT complete the homework below if you are signing up for a Nebraska class.


Four Day Class

First-time students

Download a complete 4 Day First Time Students Homework Packet (PDF or DOC).

Please bring two copies of your completed homework: one to turn in and one to reference throughout the week.  Bring a third copy of your bill.

Note: Students attending a class in a state other than their own need to do the homework for the state where they are attending, not the state where they live. For example, if a student is from Idaho but is attending the Washington class, they need to do the homework for Washington.

Note: Students attending a class in Nebraska should complete the homework packets found here. DO NOT complete the homework below if you are signing up for a Nebraska class.


1

Read Tim Echols’ book, Real Citizenship.

  • You can purchase a paper-back copy of the book online during the registration process or at the TeenPact Online Store. Call the TeenPact office for more information.

Tip: Try breaking it up into 4 or 5 sections and setting aside an hour each day for a week.


2

Send a letter to your state representative and state senator, thanking them for serving and telling them about one issue/idea you think is important in your state.

  • Remember to check your grammar and spelling.  Reference our Sample Letter for formatting.
  • In everything be respectful and address them with their proper titles.
  • Mail them (no emails please) at least 2 weeks before the class to ensure they arrive in time.
  • Remember to pray for your senator and representative by name.
  • Purpose: to experience how easy it is to communicate to your governmental leaders and to participate in the process of making your opinions known.

Tip: Try asking questions about their personal beliefs on specific issues or why they became involved with the political arena.

Tip: Remember to write your state senator and state representative, not federal.


3

Define the terms and thoroughly answer the questions on the Pre Class Vocabulary List.

  • All students will be responsible for this information throughout the week.
  • Purpose: to be prepared for in-class discussions.

Tip: Check multiple dictionaries to better understand any terms that you’re confused about. Think about how you have understood the term or heard it used and how that may differ from the dictionary.

Tip: Use complete sentences when defining each term.


4

Write a one-page bill on an issue important to you and relevant to your state. Please choose a serious topic for the first bill; you may write a second bill with a fun topic if you choose. (Our Sample Bill shows a format to use.)

  • Include at least three sections in your bill: a purpose, a section explaining the bill’s goal and plan of action, and a section listing when the bill will become law. Check the Sample Bill to make sure that your format is correct.
  • Please choose topics that are appropriate for the age and environment of the class.
  • Purpose: to be presented before the TeenPact Legislature.

Tip: Think outside the box about issues that will spark conversation between you and your peers. Be respectful and age appropriate.


5

Complete the State Political Fact Sheet using resources on the Internet and in your local library.

  • You may have to use several sources to get this information: Go to www.state.xx.us (insert your state’s abbreviation in place of xx) to log onto your state’s official web site. (Project Vote Smart also has information on your elected officials).
  • If you are completing the homework before January 1 it is possible that some government seats may have changed because of recent elections. It is better to wait and complete the Fact Sheet after you are sure that all elections are over and the current officials are serving in their respective roles.
  • Purpose: to be informed regarding the current leaders and political trends in your state.

Tip: Remember to complete the fact sheet according to your STATE government information, not federal.

Tip: Don’t be intimidated– all this project takes is a little patience! Make sure that all of your information is up to date.


6

Memorize 1 Timothy 2:1-3 and Romans 13:1-2 using a Bible translation of your choice.

  • Be prepared to write them from memory when you come to class.
  • Purpose: to begin the process of developing a biblical worldview on government and citizenship.

Tip: Find creative ways to memorize these verses. Start early and practice often.


7

Read or watch your governor’s most recent State of the State Address.

  • You can usually find the speech on your governor’s web site under “Press Releases” or “Speeches.” In some cases you may have to call the governor’s office and ask how to get a copy. If your governor was recently elected or hasn’t given an address yet, use the last Address available.
  • Create a list (using the State of the State Address worksheet) of the issues (at least 3 or more) addressed by the governor in his or her speech.
  • Purpose: to know the current issues in your state, as defined by your current governor.

Tip: Keep these questions in mind while you read – How does this affect your state? What does this tell you about your governor’s priorities? What key issues didn’t they address?


8

Complete the Bill Analysis Worksheet.

  • Find and browse the list of legislation from your STATE legislature’s web site and print a bill of interest to you.
  • Analyze this bill using the worksheet given.
  • Purpose: to develop critical thinking skills regarding current issues and legislation.
  • *Worksheet compiled from David Barton’s article “Analyzing Legislation”.

Tip: Thoroughly answer every question on the worksheet. If a question is not relevant to the bill that you chose, explain why it does not apply.


9

Constitutional Analysis

  • Read the first 5 Articles of the United States Constitution, as well as the first 10 Amendments (the Bill of Rights).
  • Choose three of the first Ten Amendments and write a 3-5 sentence paragraph answering questions listed on the Constitutional Analysis Worksheet.
  • Purpose: to better understand the Constitution.

Tip: Have a dictionary on hand to look up words or terms that you don’t understand.


10

Campaign Preparation

OPTIONAL: The following assignment will give students a better understanding of the Four Day class, however is not required.

During the TeenPact week we will hold class elections for governor and senator. Begin thinking about running, as it is a tremendous learning experience and a ton of fun! For those interested in running, we recommend that you:

  • Develop a campaign slogan.
  • Write a short speech on why you might make a good class governor or senator.
  • Think about a favorite Bible verse or message you can share with your fellow students.
  • Purpose: to be prepared for in-class elections.

Please make sure that you show your parents your homework before turning it in. Student assignments not completed will impact a student’s final score in the class.

Alumni students

Download a complete 4 Day Alumni Students Homework Packet (PDF or DOC).

Please bring two copies of your completed homework: one to turn in and one to reference throughout the week.  Bring a third copy of your bill.

Note: Students attending a class in a state other than their own need to do the homework for the state where they are attending, not the state where they live. For example, if a student is from Idaho but is attending the Washington class, they need to do the homework for Washington.

Note: Students attending a class in Nebraska should complete the homework packets found here. DO NOT complete the homework below if you are signing up for a Nebraska class.


1

Send a letter to your state representative and state senator, thanking them for serving and telling them about one issue/idea you think is important in your state.

  • Remember to check your grammar and spelling.
  • In everything be respectful and address them with their proper titles.
  • Mail them (no emails please) at least 2 weeks before the class to ensure they arrive in time.
  • Remember to pray for your senator and representative by name.
  • Purpose: to experience how easy it is to communicate to your governmental leaders and to participate in the process of making your opinions known.

Tip: Try asking questions about their personal beliefs on specific issues or why they wanted to become involved with the political arena.
Tip: Remember to write your state senator and state representative, not federal.


2

Review the vocabulary and questions from the Pre Class Vocabulary List

  • All students, first-timers and alumni, will be responsible for this information on the first quiz. Alumni are not required to turn in the vocabulary and definitions.
  • Purpose: to be prepared for in-class discussions.

3

Write a one-page bill on an issue important to you and relevant to your state. Please choose a serious topic for the first bill; you may write a second bill with a fun topic if you choose. (Our Sample Bill shows a format to use.)

  • Include at least three sections in your bill: a purpose, a section explaining the bill’s goal and plan of action, and a section listing when the bill will become law. Check the Sample Bill to make sure that your format is correct.
  • Please choose topics that are appropriate for the age and environment of the class.
  • Purpose: to be presented before the TeenPact Legislature.

Tip: Think outside the box about issues that will spark conversation between you and your peers. Be respectful and age appropriate.


4

Complete the State Political Fact Sheet using resources on the Internet and in your local library.

  • You may have to use several sources to get this information:Type http://www.state.xx.us (insert your state’s abbreviation in place of xx) to log onto your state’s official web site. (Project Vote Smart also has information on your elected officials).
  • If you are completing the homework before January 1 it is possible that some government seats may have changed because of recent elections. It is better to wait and complete the Fact Sheet after you are sure that all elections are over and the current officials are serving in their respective roles.
  • Purpose: to be informed regarding the current leaders and political trends in your state.

Tip: Remember to complete the fact sheet according to your STATE government information, not federal.

Tip: Don’t be intimidated– all this project takes is a little patience! Make sure that all of your information is up to date.


5

Read or watch your governor’s most recent State of the State Address.

  • You can usually find the speech on your governor’s web site under “Press Releases” or “Speeches”. In some cases you may have to call the governor’s office and ask how to get a copy. If your governor was recently elected or hasn’t given an address yet, use the last Address available.
  • Create a list using the worksheet given of the issues addressed (at least 3 or more) by the governor in his or her speech.
  • Purpose: to know the current issues in your state, as defined by your current governor.

Tip: Keep these questions in mind while you read – How does this affect your state? What does this tell you about your governors priorities? What key issues didn’t they address?


6

Constitutional Analysis

  • Read the first 5 Articles of the United States Constitution, as well as the first 10 Amendments (the Bill of Rights).
  • Consider the questions listed the Constitutional Analysis worksheet as you read.
  • All students, first-timers and alumni, will be responsible for this information.  Alumni are not required to turn in any work from this assignment.
  • Purpose: to better understand the Constitution.


Tip: Have a dictionary on hand to look up words or terms that you don’t understand.


7

Research and write an essay (see specifics below) about the American criminal justice system to better understand, evaluate and consider solutions for issues regarding the high incarceration rate, overcriminalization, recidivism and social implications impacting the system’s current effectiveness.

Why is this important?
America has long been known as the land of freedom and opportunity, but more recently, it has earned the disturbing distinction of being the world’s leading jailer. While the United States represents just 5 percent of the world’s population, it now holds 25 percent of its inmates. Crime stopping policies of the 1980s and 1990s launched a massive increase in incarceration rates, and in 2010, America had 1,267,000 people behind bars in state prisons, 744,500 in local jails, and 216,900 in federal facilities—more than 2.2 million under state and federal detention.

Even more concerning, many ex-offenders are woefully unprepared to navigate the challenges of reentry once released. Many struggle to find a job, battle substance abuse with no treatment, and can often end up homeless, a striking indictment of a system often defined by its desire to be “correctional.”  In addition, our criminal-justice system takes a toll not only on the offenders, but on their families and neighborhoods. And that toll is intergenerational: there are 2.7 million children with a parent behind bars.

Furthermore, an estimated 70% of inmates will be re-arrested within two years of their release. Such a high recidivism rate not only indicates the failure of our system to address the needs of ex-offenders but also demonstrates the public safety risk if offenders cannot learn to become productive citizens. Essentially, our criminal justice system fails 70% of the time, which is why the need for reform is almost universally accepted.

So what truly is justice in our society, and can redemption and restoration be a part of that definition? Is the job or the criminal justice system simply to warehouse bad people, or perhaps rehabilitate them as functional members of society?

As citizens we must be informed as to what we believe on these topics and why we believe it so we can do our part to help our country remain strong and effective. As renowned journalist Jim Lehrer once said, “If we don’t have an informed electorate we don’t have a democracy.”

  • Using the questions below as a guide (you don’t have to answer all of them), examine your state and federal Criminal Justice system and the issues plaguing its structure.
  • Write an essay (1500 words minimum) outlining the purpose of the criminal justice system, the failures of that system, and ways we can better achieve that purpose.
  • Purpose: to understand and discuss our criminal justice system and reforms that can make it more effective to our society as a whole.

Questions to consider:

  1. What are major factors that have contributed to the high incarceration rate of the past 30 years? (Tip: research mandatory minimums and their affect on incarceration.)
    What is “overcriminalization,” and how has the contributed to higher incarceration rates?
    What is the purpose of our criminal justice system? Should rehabilitation and correction be a part of that, or should it primarily focus on justice and deterrence? Why or why not?
    Is deterrence a primary responsibility of the system? Why or why not?
    Should restoration be a focus of our system? Why or why not?
    What are the collateral consequences for those released from our criminal justice system?  How does prison time affect an individual’s future in areas like employment and business, access to government benefits, participation in civic life, etc.?
    What is recidivism, and should that impact our opinion on the effectiveness of our criminal justice system? Why or why not?
    What role can the Church play in criminal justice and restoration?
    How can the criminal justice system be reformed to improve its effectiveness and better fulfill its purpose?

Tip: Don’t forget to start early on this assignment! Remember to use credible sources, not just Wikipedia.


8

Campaign Preparation

OPTIONAL: The following assignment will give students a better understanding of the Four Day class, however is not required.

During the TeenPact week we will hold class elections for governor and senator. Begin thinking about running, as it is a tremendous learning experience and a ton of fun! For those interested in running, we recommend that you:

  • Develop a campaign slogan.
  • Write a short speech on why you might make a good class governor or senator.
  • Think about a favorite Bible verse or message you can share with your fellow students.
  • Purpose: to be prepared for in-class elections.

Please make sure that you show your parents your homework before turning it in. Student assignments not completed will impact a student’s final score in the class.

Political Communication Workshop

All students

Download a complete Political Communication Workshop Packet.


1

Research and write a resolution advocating change on a current US public policy issue. (Our Sample Resolution shows a format to use.)

  • The resolution should contain a purpose, a statement defining why you feel that the change is necessary, and a statement declaring what change you would defend.
  • You will be asked to propose and defend your resolution for at least 2 minutes, so please research the issue and prepare to discuss the questions that might be asked.
  • Bring two copies of your resolution, one to turn in and one to refer to during the class.

Potential topic ideas:

  • US interventionism
  • Universal healthcare
  • Flat tax policy
  • Death penalty
  • Social security reform
  • School vouchers
  • Homeland security
  • Iran nuclear policy
  • Illegal immigration
  • Police violence and misconduct
  • Purpose: to be informed about current events and to understand why or why not the United States should advocate its current policy.

Tip: Choose an issue that will spark conversation between you and your peers. Remember to keep all topics age appropriate.

Please make sure that you show your parents your homework before turning it in. This assignment will receive in-class critique but will not receive an official grade.

One Day Class

First-time students

Download a complete One Day First Time Students Homework Packet (PDF or DOC).

This homework is intended to enhance students’ ability to engage in the One Day class, however it will not be graded.

Note: Students attending a class in Nebraska should complete the homework packets found here. DO NOT complete the homework below if you are signing up for a Nebraska class.


1

Memorize 1 Timothy 2:1-3 using a Bible translation of your choice.

  • Be sure to bring your Bible to class!
  • Purpose: to develop a biblical worldview of citizenship.

Tip: Find creative ways to memorize these verses– ie. using 3×5 cards as flash cards.


2

Write a one-page bill on an issue (serious or fun!) that is worthy of debate. (Our Sample Bill shows a format to use.)

  • Bring two copies of your bill: one to turn in and one to keep for your own use during the class.
  • Please choose topics that are respectful and are appropriate for the age and environment of the class.
  • Purpose: to be presented before the TeenPact Legislature.

Tip: Parents, it’s all right for you to assist your child with this process. Help them write about the topic of their choice, something that an 8-12 year old would find interesting to talk about. Have fun with it!


OPTIONAL: The following assignments will give students a better understanding of the One Day class, however are not required.


3

Read chapters 2, 6 & 13 of Tim Echols’ book, Real Citizenship.

Tip: Parents: Try reading this out loud to your children or have them read it out loud to you. Make it interesting by helping them understand what the author is talking about.

Tip: Use complete sentences when defining each term.


4

With your parent’s help, write an encouraging letter to both your state senator and state representative and let them know you are praying for them.

  • Tell them that you will be coming to the Capitol – maybe they would like to meet you after the class ends at 4 p.m.!
  • Our Sample Letter provides a reference for formatting.
  • Mail the letters at least 2 weeks before the class to ensure that they arrive in time.
  • Need to know where to send the letters? Go to Project Vote Smart and search for your legislators.
  • Purpose: to experience how easy it is to communicate with your leaders.

Tip: Be respectful and don’t forget to address them with their proper titles.

Tip: Thank them for serving your state in this capacity, and tell them about one issue or idea that you think is important to your state.

Note to Parents: All student bills will be heard during “first reads” in the mock legislature and assigned to committees for further discussion. Due to time constraints, we are not always able to further debate all bills in the general assembly. Thank you for your understanding.

Returning students

Download a complete 1 Day Returning Students Homework Packet (PDF or DOC).

This homework is intended to enhance students’ ability to engage in the One Day class, however it will not be graded.

Note: Students attending a class in Nebraska should complete the homework packets found here. DO NOT complete the homework below if you are signing up for a Nebraska class.


1

Memorize 1 Timothy 2:1-3 using a Bible translation of your choice.

  • Be sure to bring your Bible to class!
  • Purpose: to develop a biblical worldview of citizenship.

Tip: Find creative ways to memorize these verses– ie. using 3×5 cards as flash cards.


2

Write a one-page bill on an issue (serious or fun!) that is worthy of debate. (Our Sample Bill shows a format to use.)

  • Bring two copies of your bill: one to turn in and one to keep for your own use during the class.
  • Please choose topics that are respectful and are appropriate for the age and environment of the class.
  • Purpose: to be presented before the TeenPact Legislature.

Tip: Parents, it’s all right for you to assist your child with this process. Help them write about the topic of their choice, something that an 8-12 year old would find interesting to talk about. Have fun with it!


3

Complete the Campaign Fact Sheet to learn more about the election process and the people involved in electing a candidate.

  • Bring one copy of your Campaign Fact Sheet to refer to during class.
  • Purpose: to learn more about the campaign process.

Tip: Talk with your parents about the different campaigns going on right now!


OPTIONAL: The following assignments will give students a better understanding of the One Day class, however are not required.


4

With your parent’s help, write an encouraging letter to both your state senator and state representative and let them know you are praying for them.

  • Tell them that you will be coming to the Capitol – maybe they would like to meet you after the class ends at 4 p.m.!
  • Mail the letters at least 2 weeks before the class to ensure that they arrive in time.
  • Need to know where to send the letters? Go to Project Vote Smart and search for your legislators.
  • Purpose: to experience how easy it is to communicate with your leaders.

Tip: Be respectful and don’t forget to address them with their proper titles.

Tip: Thank them for serving your state in this capacity, and tell them about one issue or idea that you think is important to your state.

Note to Parents: All student bills will be heard during “first reads” in the mock legislature and assigned to committees for further discussion. Due to time constraints, we are not always able to further debate all bills in the general assembly. Thank you for your understanding.

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