Election Lesson Plans
Election lessons inspire and engage democratic dialogue amongst learners in your classroom.
By Andrea Ferrero
The flyers are out, the phones are ringing, and the campaigns are coming to an exhilarating end. It is election time. Bringing elections and the process of voting into your classroom can go far beyond counting tally marks on the board and announcing a winner. During election season you can participate in a diverse array of activities that can inspire and engage students.
All students can get into the action and move through the full process by holding a class election. This election could be to choose a class nickname, a class pet's name, or any other classroom collaborative decision. Break students into teams of four or five. As a team, they can choose a name and create a campaign complete with a poster, slogan and short speech to describe their group's stand. After each group has presented, discuss which parts of each campaign were the most effective and why. They can then take part in a full class democratic vote, after which they can analyze their choice. This activity can be linked to local community elections by having students learn about candidates for office in their area. They can draw connections between how their opinions and emotions affect how they would vote. Students can also analyze local campaigns to identify what effective public speakers do and say to convey their political messages.
Power of Persuasion
For older students, election season presents a unique chance to investigate persuasion and public action or inaction. Allow students to choose a topic or issue that concerns them about their school, or provide a list of issues and have students sign up for the pro and con positions. Ask students if they wanted to convince a friend to do something for them how would they go about doing it? Take each answer and tie it to an advertising tactic or persuasive technique, such as joining the bandwagon. Next give students the chance to create a persuasive essay that supports their stand on the issue. Students can share their essays or use them as support in a spirited class debate. After each student has shared, have students collect signatures for those who support them and their stand. Remind students they cannot support two opposing views. By having students collect signatures you can emphasize the importance of participation in the election process, voting and holding an educated opinion about the issues being discussed. What follows are more lessons and activities that can help students learn about the electoral process.
Exciting Election Lesson Plans:
After exploring media resources, students examine the components of the election process. They then examine and create insightful political cartoons and biographical sketches illustrating their research of current events.
In this high school level lesson students examine the strengths young leaders bring to the table and the obstacles they encounter once there. They view a variety of linked media clips and resources before writing a persuasive speech and collecting survey results.
After reading "Duck for President" by Doreen Cronin and Betsy Lewin elementary students brainstorm the traits of a good leader and the steps it takes to be elected president. They then participate in a classroom election that culminates in the ceremonial announcement of a president and vice president. All students are celebrated in this breakdown of our country's most elaborate election.