House of Representative and the Senate: Activity 1

  1. Provide each student with a copy of the Parliamentary Education Office’s Fact Sheet: The House of Representatives (pdf format) and Fact Sheet: The Senate (pdf format). Either individually or as a class, provide time for the students to read the fact sheets and clarify any questions that they might have.

    Ask students to trace around their hands with their fingers outstretched. The students are required to record the five most important facts related to the House of Representatives on one of the hand’s outline and the five most important facts related to the Senate on the other.

    For each fact that the students record, they are required to justify its inclusion as a ‘Top 5 fact’. Provide students with time to share their responses with a classmate. This activity serves as an introductory overview or as a reminder of the Houses of Australia’s parliamentary system.

  2. Explain to students that the House of Representatives is sometimes called ‘The People’s House’ and that the Senate is sometimes called ‘The States’ House’. Ask students to use the Parliamentary Education Office website to find out why the Houses are referred to in this way and to answer the following questions:

    • What is the House of Representatives?
    • What is the Senate?
    • What do the House of Representatives and the Senate do?
    • Why is the Senate sometimes called the ‘House of Review’?
    • How are the members for the House of Representatives and the Senate elected?
    • What does the Constitution say about the House of Representatives and the Senate?
  3. Now that students have acquired some basic knowledge about the House of Representatives and the Senate, ask students to complete a KWHL chart. Once students have recorded ‘what they know’ and ‘what they would like to know’ about the two Houses, provide time for students independent research using online resources such as:

    At the conclusion of their research, ask students to finish filling in their KWHL chart. Ask students to present what they have learnt as a:

    • newspaper article
    • role-play of a news report
    • song (using a familiar tune)
    • poster
    • other (which can be negotiated between the students and teacher).

    Introduction | Activity One | Activity Two