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Election Day activities

 

 

"The right to vote is arguably one of the most important rights of citizenship in a democratic country, yet a substantial number of U.S. citizens choose not to exercise that right," states the introduction to the latest report on voter turnout from the U.S. Census Bureau. In the classroom, teachers this fall have a unique opportunity to teach about elections and the election process, current issues, the importance of making informed decisions, and the importance of voting. Education World offers these teaching activities to help achieve those goals. (Be sure to see additional activities in our Election, primaries, and voting archive.) Included: Math, drama, art, role-playing activities, and more to take advantage of this ultimate in "teachable moments"!

 

Nationwide, the percent of the voting-age population that actually votes has decreased.

Presidential election years
2008 - 58 percent
2004 - 58 percent
2000 - 55 percent
1996 - 54 percent
1992 - 61 percent
1988 - 57 percent
1984 - 60 percent
1980 - 59 percent
1976 - 59 percent
1972 - 63 percent
1968 - 68 percent
1964 - 69 percent
"Off-year" elections
2010 - 41 percent
2006 - 44 percent
2002 - 42 percent
1998 - 42 percent
1994 - 45 percent
1990 - 45 percent
1986 - 46 percent
1982 - 48 percent
1978 - 46 percent
1974 - 45 percent
1970 - 55 percent
1966 - 55 percent

Why the decline? Were the candidates uninspiring? Were there no issues that motivated people to vote? For sure, the excitement of a campaign -- or the lack of it -- can affect voter turnout. But more important than a convention or a candidate or a campaign in determining voter turnout is the effort an individual makes to learn about the candidates and the issues.

This week, Education World offers ten activities to help young Americans understand the importance of exercising that right to vote. You will find activities for teaching about a wide range of election topics, including the political process, election campaigning, the Electoral College, and the famous election of 1876!

If you missed the ten activities we published a couple of weeks ago, be sure to see The election: Classroom activities.

Following is a list of this week's new activities. Click the lesson headline below to access a complete teaching resource! (Notations in parentheses indicate approximate grade levels for each activity.)

A funny thing happened on the way to the election: Editorial cartoons
Create an editorial cartoon "museum" in your classroom; let students explore the many meanings of those cartoons and create cartoons of their own. (3-12)

Meet the press
Students play the roles of candidate, campaign manager, and journalist in this activity. (6-12)

Your vote counts!
Students build an election campaign around their favorite TV characters! (Pre-K-2)

Reading the election results
Students read a chart that shows the results of the 1996 presidential election. (3-12)

Track the polls
Students track poll results before Election Day. (6-12)

Presidential eligibility
Could Ricky Martin be elected president? Sammy Sosa? Steven Spielberg? Students learn what requirements determine who can and can't run for president. (3-12)

The Presidential Campaign Game
Students experience the workings of the political process and what it takes to manage a political campaign. (9-12)

The eye of the beholder: A media literacy activity
Students explore the impact the news media have on shaping perceptions and opinions in general and in their coverage of the presidential campaign. (9-12)

Electoral versus popular vote
Students learn the workings of the Electoral College with this simple activity. (K-8)

Related articles from Education World

Education World Elections & voting theme page

Article by Lois Lewis, Linda Starr, & Gary Hopkins
Education World®
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Last updated 03/13/2016