Skip to main content

Agenda Game

Setting the Agenda

This resource enables students to experience a typical "day in the life" of a parliamentarian and understand the decisions Senators and MPs must make when scheduling their many duties and activities.

Grades 6 to 10 (primary cycle 3 to Secondary cycle 2 in Quebec)


Learning Outcomes

Students will:

  • gain an understanding of the respective roles of Senators and MPs
  • develop an awareness of the bicameral nature of Parliament
  • exercise skills in collaborative decision-making; selecting, organizing and presenting information and defending positions taken

How To Use This Resource


Senators and MPs play different roles in Parliament, but they all have very busy schedules. The demands made on them are heavy.

The Senate and the House of Commons work to develop legislation. While there are some similarities in the work of the two chambers, there are also distinct differences. Use the materials below to learn more about the work of each chamber.

Class Preparation

  1. Photocopy and distribute the following articles to read and discuss before doing the activity. Consider supporting this with examples of live proceedings from the Cable Public Affairs Channel (CPAC).
  2. Divide the class into groups of 3 or 4 students. Half of the groups will be Senators and their assistants. The other half will be MPs and their assistants.
  3. Distribute student instructions to the Senator groups and to the MP groups.
  4. Photocopy and provide each group with the following handouts.

    Senator groups:

    MP groups:

    Note: All requests are for Tuesday. The shaded areas on the agenda sheets indicate the times when the Senate and the House of Commons are in session on that day. Suggestion: Cut the requests into strips and place them in envelopes.


Ask the students to schedule as many of the requests as they think possible into the day's agenda. In some cases, they must refer to the Daily Routine of Business for the Senate or the Daily Order of Business for the House of Commons to determine when specific activities are scheduled in the chamber. If the group reaches an impasse, the Senator or the MP will have the final decision.


  1. Discuss Questions for Students to Consider (1 to 7).
  2. Pair each Senate group with an MP group. Assign each combined group to create a chart comparing and contrasting the duties of a Senator and an MP. Students may be asked to create larger, illustrated charts to post on the wall and discuss as a class.
  3. Refer again to Questions for Students to Consider and review Question 8.

Advanced Activity

  1. Assign the following readings from How Canadians Govern Themselves by Eugene A. Forsey:
  2. Define and discuss the term "bicameral". (See Glossary of parliamentary terms for intermediate students)
  3. For discussion or written assignment: What are the merits of a bicameral legislature?

Supplementary Activity

Invite a Senator or your MP to visit your class and further explain the Daily Routine of Business in the Senate or the Daily Order of Business in the House of Commons and the work he or she does in Ottawa and the constituency.

To find a Senator from your region of the country, search the Senate directory.

To find your local MP, search the House of Commons directory.