Quick Links


Project Overview

Step #1
Public Policy Identification

Step #2
Policy Approval

Step #3
Pending Gov't Action

Step #4
GAP Research Summary

Step #5
Formal Letter

Step #6

Click for Rubrics











Government Action Project

American Government

Mr. Krieger
Ipswich High School


Project Overview and Deadlines
As noted in the American Government course syllabus,
President Warren G. Harding said, "Our most dangerous tendency is to expect too much of government, and at the same time do for it too little." Rather than studying political science and just learning about our political system, you will participate in government. You will select a public policy issue that matters to you. It can be a national, statewide, or local issue which you want a representative in our government to address. We will use our research and communication skills to make a difference! Below are the three components of the Government Action Project (GAP) which we will complete during the course:

Points Deadline Project Component
-10 Friday (2/12) Topic Approval
100 Wednesday (3/10) GAP Research Summary
75 Wednesday (3/17) Formal letter to a government official

Monday (3/22)


Step #1 -- Identify a Public Policy Issue

Your first step is to select a public policy issue that you are passionate about.  Think about a cause, an inequity, or a piece of legislation that is important to you.  This is YOUR project, so please select an issue that really matters to you.  For example, if you support the United States military's mission in Afghanistan, you could write to a Senator on the Armed Services Committee asking her or him to support funding for the conflict.  Or, if you think casino gambling should be legalized in Massachusetts, you could write to a Massachusetts legislator explaining why you support legislation in favor of casino gambling.  Remember...you can think locally, statewide, or nationally.

Regardless of the public policy issue which you select, you must be able to reference a specific piece of pending legislation or upcoming action by the government. 

The links below are all great sources for you to find lists and information about various public policy issues.

Government Information (Vanderbilt University website)

Public Agenda  (information and links to various public policy issues)

Public Policy Groups (Washington and Lee University list of public policy groups)

**Make sure you keep a working "work cited" page.  You must cite any statistics, quote, or background information which you gain from a source. 

Open Microsoft Word and create a Work Cited page that you can add to it as you work on the GAP.

Step #2 -- Public Policy Issue Approval

Once you have determined the public policy issue which will be your focus, it must be approved.  Be prepared to report the following:

1. The public policy issue
2. Why you chose the public policy issue
3. How the public policy issue affects you
4. Your view of the issue

When the topic is approved, you may proceed to step #3. 

Step #3 -- Identify Pending Legislation, Funding or Action

You now need to focus on your public policy issue.  Find out what is currently happening with the public policy issue.  Take GREAT NOTES and CITE your sources!!! Know your sources.  Include quotes, statistics, and background information about your public policy issue.  Also, make sure you find at least one non-governmental group or organization which lobbies for or against the issue.  What action is being taken by Congress, at the State House, or in Ipswich?  Below are some guiding questions:

1. What is the pending legislation? 
2. Are there any requests for funding?
3. What lawmakers have made recent comments about the issue?

Below are some links that will help you find any pending legislation in Washington, D.C. or Beacon Hill. 

Library of Congress Thomas (Site includes legislative information for Congress.  You can search for legislation by typing a word or phrase in the search section.  You can also search for legislation by a specific senator or representative.  This is a GREAT site.)

Massachusetts Senate Bill Search  (If you're looking for legislation pending in the Massachusetts Senate, use this link.) 

Massachusetts House of Representatives Bill Search   (If you're looking for legislation pending in the Massachusetts House of Representatives, use this link.)

Town of Ipswich  (If you're going to focus on a local policy issue, you may find information here.)

Step #4 -- GAP Research Summary

Compile your information and complete the GAP Research Summary document.  You must type your information into the form using
Times New Roman 12 Point Font.  To complete the document, follow these instructions:

1. Right click on the GAP Research Summary link below.
2. Select "Save Target As"
3. Save the document to your cube or another location where you will be able to find it.
4. Read the instructions and type your information into the document.

GAP Research Summary

Step #5 -- Formal Letter

Your polished letter will introduce yourself, make clear why you care about the issue, identify the issue with supporting information, and explain the course of action that you would like to see taken by the office which you are addressing.

United States Senate Page -- Contact a Senator

United States Senate Page -- Committees

United States House of Representatives -- Contact a Member of Congress

United States House of Representatives -- Committees

Massachusetts State Senate

Massachusetts House of Representatives

List of Massachusetts General Court Committees

Town of Ipswich

Step #6 -- Presentation