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Presidential election lesson plan | Inform your vote



Students like to take an active role in elections, which includes voting for candidates. As a teacher, it's your job to show them the underlying reasons people should be considering when the evaluate candidates.


  • Social Studies
    --Current Events


  • 9-12


Brief description

Students vote for their favorite candidate for president of the United States. Then, they examine the candidates' positions on four major issues and compare the candidates' positions to their own. Finally, students vote again and discuss whether their votes changed because of what they learned about the candidates' positions on the issues.


Students will

  • understand and participate in the election process.
  • analyze current event topics and offer their opinions.
  • share their viewpoints on civic issues.


Presidential election, civics, current events

Materials needed [shop materials]

  • computer access
  • Internet access
  • Microsoft Excel or another spreadsheet program

Note: This lesson also can be taught using a computer and projection device.

Lesson plan

Start the lesson by asking students if they have been watching the debates or otherwise following this year's Presidential election. Explain that they are going to have a chance to voice their vote for one of the two party endorsed presidential candidates.

Provide students with the following instructions:

Note: All steps also can be completed by a teacher or student volunteer working at a single computer with a projector or TV monitor.
  • Open Microsoft Excel.
  • In cell A1, type Names, hit Return/Enter, and beginning in cell A2, type all students' names in column A.
  • In cell B1, type Initial Vote. As each of your classmates shares his or her vote for the candidate of his or her choice, type the candidate's name in Column B, next to the appropriate student's name.
    Discuss with students the reasons for their votes. Ask what factors -- family, friends, religion, and so on -- might have influenced their decision.
  • Go to the Election Center and notice the topics listed under "Campaign Issues."
  • Choose 3-4 of the topics to research. Type the topics in cells D1, E1, F1, and G1, one topic to a cell.
  • Explore each topic listed. Then, in the appropriate columns next to your name, type the name of the candidate whose viewpoint on that issue most closely resembles your own.
  • Look at the candidate name(s) besides your own name in the spreadsheet. Is the candidate you initially voted for the one whose position on the issues you most agree with?

When students have completed the activity, take another vote and once again ask students to share their choice for President. Have students type the preferred candidate's name next to each student's name in Row H. Discuss whether the activity impacted their votes.

Extension activity:
Encourage students to do additional research on the election's hot issues using the sites in this month's Election Sites to See. Then invite students to stage a debate on the issues.


Students will be assessed on

  • completion of the activity based on teacher observation.
  • participation in class discussions.

Lesson plan source

Education World

Submitted by

Lorrie Jackson


Updated 3/20/2016