The Edward M. Kennedy Institute aims to be the ultimate destination for civic learning and engagement. Educational experiences at the Institute use immersive role play and simulation to teach civics and inspire the next generation of leaders. The Institute also offers professional development opportunities for those in the education field.
Senate Immersion Module
The Senate Immersion Module (SIM) is a 2.5-hour Senate simulation, for students in grades 8 and up, held in the full-scale reproduction of the U.S. Senate Chamber at the Edward M. Kennedy Institute. Students are sworn in as Senators for the Day and convene in the Senate Chamber to work together to build legislation on a contemporary, historical, or fictional topic.
Facilitated Virtual School Programs
The Kennedy Institute is offering live virtual programs, facilitated by Institute staff, for the 2020-2021 school year. Participants will join a video conference for an interactive virtual program that invites students to delve into and discuss important national issues.
Welcoming Words introduces K-2 students to an important American symbol, the Statue of Liberty, and the welcome that she represents to immigrants. The program features an interactive tour with key stops of the Edward M. Kennedy Institute visitor experience including a visit to the Institute’s full-scale replica of the United States Senate Chamber.
Senator-in-Training Tours for students in grade 3-12 include a tour of the digital interactive exhibits at the Edward M. Kennedy Institute and a grade-level-appropriate program in the Institute's full-scale reproduction of the U.S. Senate Chamber.
Pathways to Citizenship
Students learn about challenges facing modern-day immigrants in the new program Pathways to Citizenship. Students are charged with building a bill that defines a pathway to citizenship for four groups of undocumented immigrants: DREAMers, farm workers, refugees, and a general undocumented population.
This 2-hour simulation, developed in collaboration with the Harvard Law School Negotiation and Mediation Clinical Program, focuses on legislative negotiation. Students take on the role of a member of the Senate or House of Representatives engaged in Conference Committee, the process Congress uses to reconcile differences between bills from the two chambers.
College students can take a hands-on approach to learning about representation and the legislative process at the Edward M. Kennedy Institute.
Seat at the Table Project
“If they don’t give you a seat at the table bring a folding chair.” - Shirley Chisholm The Seat at the Table project, inspired by the life and career of Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm, invites individuals, schools, and community organizations to think about why diversity of representation is vital and what necessary contributions we each bring to the table when we pull up a chair.
Today’s Vote in the Classroom
This teaching resource provides tools and materials to simulate the legislative process in the middle and high school classrooms. Choose from the library of real legislation to have students take on the role of senator and examine a topic on national importance.
The Kennedy Institute is proud to make voting come alive with “Just Vote” – a non-partisan digital resource and companion lesson plan to help students understand the history of voting rights and the importance of exercising their franchise.
Professional development opportunities for educators offered at the Institute and at other partner locations.
Civics At Home
These activities for children and teens encourage young people to think about how our government works, how they can make a difference in their communities and how to take action on issues that are important to them.
Students and Teachers
This collection includes resources to help young people explore issues of public policy and civic action, as well as materials for educators.
Discovery quality online civics resources from some of our partner organizations.
Lion of the Senate: Digital Exhibit
Experience and engage with our digital exhibit Lion of The Senate: The Legislative Accomplishments of Senator Edward M. Kennedy to learn more about the Institute’s founder.
Experiencing Exhibits FAQ’s
Learn the answers to some “Frequently Asked Questions” about the Senate, voting, civic leaders, history, and more, through short videos.