Politics and Public Policy

This unit is designed to provide students with an introduction to the electoral processes of the American political system. Students will develop a strong foundation that will inform them of their choices and encourage civic involvement. The Politics and Public Policy unit guides students to a deep understanding of concepts and processes through simulations, presentations, vocabulary-building activities and a mock election.


Voting Matters Activity

Your students may be too young to register to vote, but it’s never too early to learn about what it takes to get to the ballot!  This activity is a great way to kick off the election season, and promote voter registration in the larger community.  Students will learn about how registration and voting works in their state, and create a flyer to share with someone in their life. National Voter Registration Day is in late September each year, and has a mission of registering voters across the country.

 


The Electoral Process

Take a peek into the electoral process- from party primaries to the general election. Students will learn the distinctions between the popular vote and the Electoral College, and exercise their critical reasoning skills to analyze the differences between the presidential and congressional elections. Students will also contrast the various nomination processes and learn about the role of party conventions in American politics.

Got a 1:1 classroom? Download fillable PDF versions of this lesson's activities below!


Win the White House
Play Time: 30+ mins
Run your own presidential campaign- from the debates to the ads to the fundraising!

Win the White House
Play Time: 30+ mins
Run your own presidential campaign- from the debates to the ads to the fundraising!

*NEW* Win the White House Extension Pack

Make your students’ game play more meaningful by using our activity and assessment set designed specifically for Win the White House. This easy-to-use Extension Pack helps you give context and purpose to the game, as well as reinforce and assess the game concepts. That means deeper learning for students, and best practices around game-centered learning for you!  Extension Packs require PowerPoint and are designed for use with projectors or interactive whiteboards. 


*NEW* Win the White House Extension Pack

Make your students’ game play more meaningful by using our activity and assessment set designed specifically for Win the White House. This easy-to-use Extension Pack helps you give context and purpose to the game, as well as reinforce and assess the game concepts. That means deeper learning for students, and best practices around game-centered learning for you!  Extension Packs require PowerPoint and are designed for use with projectors or interactive whiteboards. 


Electoral College

Should the U.S. president be elected by the Electoral College or the national popular vote? It turns out this argument has been going on for a long time – all the way back to the Founding Fathers! Now your students can engage in an evidence-based evaluation of the issue. And in the end, they’ll have to write a effective argument about how our electoral system should work! 

All the tools for using Drafting Board successfully are right here!


Electoral College

Should the U.S. president be elected by the Electoral College or the national popular vote? It turns out this argument has been going on for a long time – all the way back to the Founding Fathers! Now your students can engage in an evidence-based evaluation of the issue. And in the end, they’ll have to write a effective argument about how our electoral system should work! 

All the tools for using Drafting Board successfully are right here!


One Big Party?

In One Big Party, students learn about the role of political parties in the United States and the influence parties have in our political system, including the role of third parties. This lesson does not cover political party ideologies.

Use our mini-lesson Party Systems to teach students about the different kinds of political party systems that exist in countries around the world. (Party Systems used to be part of One Big Party but now stands alone.)


Party Systems

Does every country have Republicans and Democrats? (Spoiler alert: No.) Use this mini-lesson to show your students that there are lots of different political party systems around the world.

Got a 1:1 classroom? Download fillable PDFs of this lesson's materials below!


Got Ballot?

Covering everything from referendums to recalls, this lesson takes students to the voting booth and explains what they might see on a typical ballot. Students will discover how voters have the opportunity to initiate change in state and local government. 

Does your state let kids under age 18 preregister to vote so they'll be all set when the time comes? Click here to find out about preregistration, which states allow it, and what the age limits are.


Candidate Evaluation

In this lesson, students evaluate hypothetical candidates by establishing and applying their own criteria for selecting public officials. Through a variety of activities, students assess candidates based on their qualifications, experience, campaign speeches and campaign materials. Students track campaign promises, explore voting records and evaluate the legitimacy of information resources. The role of the media, fundraising and opinion polls in the electoral process is also discussed.


Cast Your Vote
Play Time: 0-15 mins
Run a political debate by choosing the questions and rating candidate responses.

Cast Your Vote
Play Time: 0-15 mins
Run a political debate by choosing the questions and rating candidate responses.

Mock Election

In this three-day simulation lesson, students explain the steps taken from party formation to national election. Harnessing skills gained from the Electoral Process lesson, students will act out the campaigning and voting process by simulating a real election in their own classroom.


Voting Rights

Explore the evolution of voting rights in the United States through an interactive PowerPoint presentation highlighting landmark changes. Following the presentation and class discussion, students apply the new knowledge of voting legislation to individual scenarios through a class activity. 


Candidate Report Card

Help your class apply their candidate evaluation skills with this election season activity. Students will select the issues and qualities they care about, then research candidates running for the office of your choice. Students will determine how the candidates rate, as they learn about the campaigns. This is a great extension activity for the Candidate Evaluation lesson plan, as well as an opportunity to bring current events into your classroom. 


Political Debate Guide

Use this activity to help your students view any political debate- local to national, historical to live broadcast. Preview candidates, issues, expectations, and details about the location and moderators. Track what the candidates say and how they say it. Then ask students to reflect on the debate experience. 


Election Night Tracker

Our Election Night Tracker activity helps students monitor the election results with a map and Electoral College vote counter.

 


Election Glossary

There's lots of vocabulary associated with elections, so give students this handy glossary to use as a reference. Whether it's election season or you're just covering elections in your curriculum, this glossary will help. 

Please note: This is not a lesson plan. It's just a glossary. Thank you.


2016 Candidate Bios

Our 2016 Candidate Bio election resource can be used in a variety of ways in your classroom: reference document, starting point for deeper research, a discussion starter, and beyond. You will find a page of classroom discussion and activity ideas, candidate cards, and a table that compares seven different elements of each candidate and his or her campaign.