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Teaching Guide

Teaching the Federal Bureaucracy

Cut through the red tape.


When we think of bureaucracy, we think of…nothing happening. The federal government isn't often the most efficiently run machine, but that doesn't mean your class has to grind to a standstill while teaching it. Grease the wheels with this teaching guide.

In this guide you will find

  • resources and activities about the legislative, executive, and judicial branches.
  • essay questions exploring bureaucracy's bad rap.
  • opinion articles both pro- and anti-bureaucracy.

Our teaching guide cuts through all the red tape, so dive in.

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Shmoop is a labor of love from folks who love to teach. Our teaching guides will help you supplement in-classroom learning with fun, engaging, and relatable learning materials that bring civics to life.

Inside each guide you'll find quizzes, activity ideas, discussion questions, and more—all written by experts and designed to save you time. Here are the deets on what you get with your teaching guide:

  • 4-10 Common Core-aligned activities (including quotation, image, and document analysis) to complete in class with your students, with detailed instructions for you and your students. 
  • Discussion and essay questions for all levels of students.
  • Reading quizzes to be sure students are looking at the material through various lenses.
  • Resources to help make the topic feel more relevant to your 21st-century students.
  • A note from Shmoop’s teachers to you, telling you what to expect from teaching the topic and how you can overcome the hurdles.

Instructions for You

Over the past decade, calls for increased government regulation of the internet have increased. Yet for the most part, the internet remains largely unregulated. In this exercise your students will explore and debate the following question.

Should the federal government increase it regulatory oversight of the internet?

You might focus your students’ efforts by discussing the various approaches to this question. Some engaged in the debate focus on “net neutrality,” a set of questions revolving around how content currently flows on the internet and whether broadband providers should be allowed to charge high-volume users extra fees, thereby directing traffic. An introduction to this issue is available here. Another set of questions deal more specifically with content regulation. These sorts of concerns led to the passage of the Child Online Protection Act and the Children’s Internet Protection Act. You can read about these measures here.

(Lesson aligned with CA 12th grade American government standards 12.2.1, 12.8.2)

Instructions for Your Students

The internet has profoundly changed American commerce, entertainment, and even dating rituals. But it remains largely outside government regulation.

Is it time for the federal government to increase its regulatory oversight of the internet?

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