An Election Year is Coming… Now What?
The 2020 presidential election is already shaping up to be one of the most intense of the last few decades. We at Classroom Law Project are pleased to offer you a series of lessons targeted to middle and high school level grades to help you and your students sort through this year’s election issues.
Our theme is WHY VOTING MATTERS – and in addition to covering the Oregon gubernatorial race and how our initiative system works, we have focused this year on other crucial electoral issues including:
- Tips for teaching in polarized times
- Electing a president and the characteristics of a good leader
- Direct democracy, Oregon’s initiative process, and surveying proposed 2020 intiatives
- Voting Rights, Voter Access, & Gerrymandering
- Voter Turnout
- A culminating classroom hearing about why voting matters
We hope these materials will prompt critical thinking and meaningful conversation in your classroom, and that this year’s election will be an event with which all students will engage. We’ve designed each of these units and lessons to be stand-alone and to work together, so you can pick and choose which will work best for your students. We’ve also included the new Oregon Social Studies standards as well as CCSS Literacy standards that connect to the lessons.
The entire series of lessons culminates in the final unit with a mock legislative hearing in which you can involve members of the community. Students will be able to demonstrate the knowledge and skills of active, informed community members. All students “testify” before a “legislative committee” made up of community members you invite into your classroom. All of the how-to’s are included here for you to create this fun and memorable experience for your students.
This fully self-contained compilation of units and lessons includes the following (click on the links to the right to download any of the following units – all in Word so you can alter as needed for your classroom):
Intro Unit (Especially for Teachers):
- Goals for teachers and students
- Theme and Pre-Unit Survey Question for Students
- Tips for Teaching Elections in Polarized Times
- Oregon Social Studies Standards – Grade 8
- CCSS Literacy Standards for Social Studies – Grade 8
- Oregon Social Studies Standards – High School
- CCSS Literacy Standards for Social Studies – High School
- Quotes about Voting
Unit 1 – Electing a President
Lesson 1.1 – How do we hire a president?
Lesson 1.2 – What are the qualities of a good leader?
Lesson 1.3 – How do the presidential Primaries work?
Unit 2 – Controversy in Elections / Oregon’s Initiative Process
Lesson 2.1 – How does direct democracy work in Oregon?
Lesson 2.2 – What are the Proposed Ballot Initiatives on Oregon’s 2020 Ballot?
Unit 3 – Voter Rights
Lesson 3.1 – What is the history of Voting Rights in the U.S.?
Lesson 3.2 – What is Gerrymandering and how does it affect voter rights?
Unit 4 – Why Should Americans Vote?
Lesson 4.1 – Political Socialization: What makes voters WANT to vote?
Lesson 4.2 – Voter Turnout: Why don’t more people vote?
Unit 5 – The 2020 Election Classroom Hearing
Look for more resources coming as the election year gets started:
- The Electoral College
- Voter access
- Comparing Candidates
- Monitoring the Primaries
- Preparing for the conventions
- Political Parties in US government
- Media and Political Ad literacy