Lesson Plan

What's a Bill?

Illustration of a legislative bill being carried up the steps to Congress

State Dept./D. Thompson

Related Content

Civics Lesson

GRADE LEVEL: High School

What is the Difference Between a Bill and a Law?

What Bills Have Had Significant Impact on People in the United States?

Why Do Some Bills Pass into Law and Others Do Not?


In 1976, Schoolhouse Rock! released “I’m Just a Bill,” an animated video with a catchy tune that educated students around the U.S. about bills. Since then, music has changed, graphics in videos have changed but the actual process of becoming a bill, and then a law, is not much different. Students’ understanding of the fundamentals of laws in the U.S. begins with understanding the difference between rules and laws and their pivotal relationship to bills. 

About the Lesson Plan

In this lesson, students will determine the differences between rules and laws, and will begin brainstorming and drafting a bill.




  • Explain the difference between rules and laws.
  • Explain the role of a bill.
  • Read bills.
  • Draft a bill.