The word election is derived from the Latin verb legere, meaning “to choose.” On November 8th, people across the United States will exercise their right to cast votes in #Election2016 and choose the 45th president and 48th vice president.
Filled with shocking rhetoric and controversy, this election season has been tricky for many teachers to weave into the classroom in productive and respectful ways. Yet, at the same time, it has offered plenty of inspiration for creative approaches to bringing up relevant and engaging topics, current events, and connections to history.
Today, we are serving up five classroom activities for the final days before the election. Plus, we’ll also introduce you to pertinent content packs that bring together multilevel resources with an election theme.
Five Election Activities for Your Classroom:
1. How do social issues shape elections? Research a historical figure and explore public policies and social movements during a past election. Compare the social issues of that time to the issues of the 2016 election. To do this, choose: 1) a presidential election of the past and 2) a historical figure from that time period. Who would your historical figure endorse and what are the social issues going on during the elections of their time? Who would they endorse today and how do they feel about the social issues in the 2016 election? For an example, download Graphic Organizer: Profiled on Al Capone and investigate how Prohibition and the temperance movement affected the 1920 and 1932 elections.
2. Use primary source documents to more deeply explore election related historical topics. How does the Seneca Falls declaration reveal the gap between America’s stated values and the realities of its past and present? Based on George Washington’s Farewell Address, how did he feel about political parties? How did Frederick Douglass’ appeal to Congress for suffrage reveal the hypocrisy of freedom for African Americans?
3. What role does voting play in a democracy? The United States is a democracy. Define democracy. Is the right to vote essential to a democracy? Make a claim and back it up with reasons and evidence using Graphic Organizer: Claim/Reason/Evidence.
4. Explore suffrage throughout time. What are the requirements to be eligible to vote in the United States? Have the requirements changed over the course of history? Which groups of people, initially excluded, are now eligible? What amendments were made to our Constitution? Create a timeline with Graphic Organizer: Timeline.
5. Create your own political party. What is your platform? What issues do you care about? Make a campaign commercial. Create a campaign slogan and hashtag. Create a text thread between you and an undecided voter using Graphic Organizer: Text Thread. What questions will they ask you? What do they care about?
All of the activities above can be done with LaunchPacks: Social Studies. If you don’t already have access to this product, take a FREE Trial for the entire month of November and use these classroom-ready activities with your students.
Explore the election-themed content packs available in LaunchPacks: Social Studies. The shortlist below is broken out by grade level, but many of these time-saving, expertly compiled, flexible packs are available in multiples and customized for each PreK-12 grade range.
LaunchPacks for Grades PreK-2: Voting, The White House, Immigration, Presidents
LaunchPacks for Grades 3-5: Elections, Branches of Government, United States Presidents, Human Rights: Civil Rights
LaunchPacks for Grades 6-8: Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, The Women’s Suffrage Movement, The American Civil Rights Movement, Human Rights: Migrants and Refugees
LaunchPacks for Grades 9-12: Human Rights: Civil Rights, Human Rights: Women’s Rights, The Environment Movement, Documents that Influenced the U.S. Constitution