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Election Day

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How well do your students understand the congressional election process? Do they know how long a term is for an individual serving in the House? How about the Senate?

Many of these key questions can be answered by using the educational resources from Thinkfinity. Discover lesson plans, activities and interactives that are worth electing for use in your classroom. Whether you are looking for something for a current Civics lesson or something to teach about the historical perspective of elections, Thinkfinity has a teaching resource to help. Read on to find out more.

Recommendations from Thinkfinity

  • Introduce your 9-12th grade students to the History of Voting: Create a Virtual Exhibit from the Smithsonian's History Explorer
  • Learn All About Elections by listening to a podcast for K-5 students from ReadWriteThink
  • Or take the mathematical approach and try to determine Will the Best Candidate Win? in this 9-12th grade lesson from Illuminations.
  • The Living Room Candidate, funded through a grant from the Verizon Foundation, contains a comprehensive online collection of political television advertisements from every Presidential election since 1952. Explore this resource for a revealing look at American culture and the impact of media on the political landscape.
  • Science NetLinks as an Election Collection page.
  • AAAS - has a 2012 Election page that looks at science policy opinions of both presidential candidates.


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  • Lesson Plans
  • Resources

Lesson Plans

Analyzing the Purpose and Meaning of Political Cartoons
ReadWriteThink | Lesson Plan | 9-12
It is important for students to know how to evaluate messages conveyed by the news media. Exploration of the artistic techniques used in political cartoons leads to critical questioning.

Analyzing the Stylistic Choices of Political Cartoonists
ReadWriteThink | Lesson Plan | 9-12
Students explore and analyze the techniques that political (or editorial) cartoonists use and draw conclusions about why the cartoonists choose those techniques to communicate their messages.

Election is in the House
EDSITEment |Lesson | 9-12
In this curriculum unit, students learn about the first time an election was decided in the House of Representatives

The Election of Barack Obama 44th President of the United States
EDSITEment | Lesson | 9-12
In this lesson, students put Barack Obama’s election as the first African American President of the United States in historical context by studying two of his speeches and reviewing some of the history of African American voting rights

Opinion Surveys
Science NetLinks | Lesson | 9-12
This lesson introduces students to factors that can affect the accuracy of opinion surveys.

Propaganda Techniques in Literature and Online Political Ads
ReadWriteThink | Lesson Plan | 9 – 12
Students analyze propaganda techniques used in pieces of literature and political advertisements. They then look for propaganda in other media, such as print ads and commercials.

Science and Policy
Science NetLinks | Lesson |9-12
Students examine the science policy priorities of the Obama administration in a two-part lesson.

Will the Best Candidate Win?
Illuminations | Lesson | 9-12
Does American Idol know something the U.S. government doesn’t? In Will the Best Candidate Win, students will explore alternative voting methods. Students discover what advantages and disadvantages each method offers and also see that each fails, in some way, to satisfy some desirable properties.

Resources

Voting in the Young Republic: George Caleb Bingham's The County Election
EDSITEment | Interactive | K-12
By examing Bingham's County Election painting which depicts a typical Missouri election scene in 1850, students discover the dynamic democracy of Jacksonia America.

History of Voting: Create a Virtual Exhibit
History Explorer | Interactive | 9-12
This activity from The Object of History challenges students to think about the 1898 Standard Voting Machine and the democratization of the voting process in the United States. It includes a preliminary activity intended to introduce students to doing history with objects, three lesson plans focused on the history of voting in the United States, and links to other online resources related to voting and the extension of voting rights to women and African-Americans.

All About Elections
ReadWriteThink | Podcast | K-5
This podcast episode focuses on presidential elections.

Consensus Model
Science NetLinks | Podcast | 6-12
Although the country is divided politically, we actually agree on a lot of things: for example, that baseball and apple pie symbolize America, that we drive on the right side of the road, or that June is a nice month for weddings.

Opinion Repetition
Science NetLinks | Podcast | 6-12
Hearing one person repeat the same opinion is surprisingly influential.

Jailed for Freedom Pin
History Explorer | Resource | K-12
Pins like this one were given to members of the National Women’s Party in December 1917 who picketed the White House for the right to vote and were subsequently imprisoned for their efforts.

Science and Politics in an Election Year
Science NetLinks | Resource Collection | K-12
This election-related collection of resources so teachers can show students how science and politics are not unrelated issues, but instead work hand-in-hand, both in the machinations of getting elected and in the work of governing.

Susan B. Anthony voted on this date in 1872, leading to her arrest.
ReadWriteThink | Calendar Entry | 5-12
After assigning special privileges to an arbitrarily designated group, students write about how they felt during the simulation and consider what they might be willing to do to change an unjust law.

The Presidential Campaign Trail
History Explorer | Resource | 6-12
Campaign items and posters will help students learn about methods and strategies that have been used by candidates to win election. Students will also explore how minorities, women, the poor, and young adults fought to obtain the right to vote.

Midterm Elections: What are they? What is at stake?
ProLiteracy | Resource | Adult Learners
This 12-page booklet explains everything you need to know to teach adult learners about midterm elections. It showcases historical data about voter turnout; charts the ways that the House, Senate and executive branch have split power between the two major parties; provides interesting graphics, slogans, vocabulary, and activities for use with learners.


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