Southeast Polk High School AP US Government and Politics students took a tour of the Iowa state capitol recently. On the tour, they learned about the history of the capitol building as well as the history of the state of Iowa. Students were impressed by the amount of history in the state capitol, especially the meaning and importance behind every piece of art, including a set of mosaics showing the six pillars of government. Led by knowledgeable guides, they were able to see the chambers for both the Senate and House of Representatives, as well as the governor’s office. Additionally, they saw the old Supreme Court Chambers, the impressively beautiful 5-story Iowa Law Library, and go up into the Whispering Gallery at the top of the building. This was a highlight as it provided the opportunity to see the capitol from a completely different viewpoint.

During the tour, the students discussed many of the differences between state and federal government, which they had studied in class. They were also able to see the original Constitution for the State of Iowa!

Students met with Nate Boulton, the state senator for much of Pleasant Hill and Altoona.  Senator Boulton talked about the citizen legislature that Iowa has and the importance of our senators and representatives having careers outside of the legislature. Students were able to ask him questions about legislation that was passed in the most recent legislative session and he talked students through the committee part of the legislative process in the State Senate. He also discussed the legislative page program for high school students during the state legislative session and other ways students can be involved in their local government.

It was a great opportunity that provided students with real-world connections to many of the things they learned about this semester in AP US Government and Politics.