Ask students to make a list of issues that impact their life. Have them rank the top three issues. For each of their top three issues, they should then identify a leader, branch of government, or agency that can do something about the issue, and an action they could take.

For example:
Issue = Climate Change
Branch of government = U.S. Congress - or - Agency = Environmental Protection Agency
Action = Set limits on carbon dioxide emissions from cars

This 5 minute opening activity can lead to a shortened discussion about how issues impact students’ lives and why congress has been ineffective in passing laws to address the issues.