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The presidential election: Capitalize on this teachable moment




Soon voters will be going to the polls to cast their votes in a wide range of elections. To help you capitalize on this teachable moment, Education World has gathered lesson ideas from our archive. These lessons will help you teach about the upcoming elections, the role of citizens in our government, and the important role the media plays in the election process. Click around among the links below for lesson ideas that will help bring the elections and the election process to life.

What is a president?
Students learn the basics about this important job. (Grades K-3)

Design a presidential candidate
Students use art skills while thinking about the qualities and characteristics an elected official should have. (Grades K-6)

Understanding political parties
The class holds a mock campaign and election, helping kids understand why voting--and the ability to disagree with a candiate's views--are important rights for American citizens. (Grades K-4)

Election scavenger hunt
Hunt through newspapers and other news sources for election-related "treasures." (Grades K-12)

Election term BINGO
Test students grasp of election vocabulary with a quick BINGO game. Student game card included. (Grades 3-12)

Getting out the vote: An Election Day classroom experiment
An experiment drives home to students the importance of voting. (Grades 3-12)

Campaign ad critique
Learn a lesson in media literacy. (Grades 6-12)

Take a stand!
A unique approach to a classroom discussion/debate about the election process. (Grades 3-12)

What are the important issues?
Determine the most important issue of the current campaign. (Grades 3-12)

Your vote counts
Young students build an election campaign around their favorite TV characters. (Grades Pre-K-2)

Terms of office
Create a classroom dictionary of election terms. (Grades 3-12)

Picture this: Election results graphs
Use art supplies or a free online tool to graph election results. (Grades K-12)

A funny thing happened on the way to the election: Editorial cartoons
Create an editorial cartoon "museum" in your classroom. (Grades 3-12)

Meet the press
This lesson plan was built for the 2004 presidential election, but it could be easily adapted to any election. Students play the roles of candidate, campaign manager, and journalist in this activity. (Grades 6-12)

How laws are made
Invite students to create a graphic organizer to illustrate the steps elected representatives take to make a new law. Included: Student work sheet and role-play ideas. (Grades 3-12)

Special interests: How would a legislator vote?
In this role-play, students are elected officials who must vote on five bills related to the special interests of groups that helped finance their campaigns. How will they vote? (Grades 3-12)

Additional resources

Use editorial cartoons to teach about elections past and present
Kids and editorial cartoons are a natural connection. The cartoons can be a terrific tool for teaching higher level thinking skills. Students can discuss them and analyze them -- they can even create them. And what current event could be more rife with editorializing possibilities than the upcoming elections?

Ten election templates
Use these editable and printable templates as informational handouts. Then delete the data to create election worksheets and quizzes. Included are a presidential fact sheet, electoral map, campaign timeline, debate scoring rubric, and more.

Article by Gary Hopkins
Education World®
Copyright © 2016 Education World

Updated 2/28/2016