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Lesson Planet

Presidential Primary Challengers

For Teachers 6th - 12th Standards
A formidable opponent can shake up the election of an incumbent president. Class members explore the results of the elections of 1912, 1968, 1976, 1980 and 1992 using video clips. A chart helps pupils organize their thoughts and analysis. 
Lesson Planet

The Impact of Citizens United v. FEC

For Teachers 6th - 12th Standards
What began as an effort to show a movie by an interest group has impacted financing of federal elections. Did the Citizens United case lead to more "dark money" in politics, or did it shine a light with more speech? Using video clips...
Lesson Planet

Why Do Americans Not Vote in Elections?

For Teachers 6th - 12th Standards
In an age of inflamed politics, who votes, who doesn't vote, and why are the questions everyone is trying to answer. Pupils listen to scholars, journalists and data crunchers on voting statistics to make their own conclusions. A chart...
Lesson Planet

What Makes a Good Campaign Ad?- Advertisement Analysis

For Teachers 6th - 12th Standards
In the time of a hotly contested presidential election, campaign ads are almost ubiquitous—but what makes them good? Using ads from the 2018 midterm elections, learners consider the various strategies candidates use to get the vote....
Lesson Planet

How will COVID-19 Impact Campaign Strategies in 2020?

For Teachers 6th - 12th Standards
While COVID-19 has changed almost everything about daily life, it's also had a tremendous impact on the 2020 presidential contest. Using video clips featuring political advisors from both sides of the aisle, learners brainstorm what they...
Lesson Planet

Foreign Interference in U.S. Elections

For Teachers 6th - 12th Standards
With election security looming large for 2020, pupils decide what should be done to protect them from foreign interference. A series of videos, including interviews with national security officials, elected representatives, and experts...
Lesson Planet

Voting Discrimination and the Effects of Shelby County v. Holder

For Teachers 6th - 12th Standards
Show students that every vote counts as they debate the federal government 's role in protecting voting rights in historically racially discriminated areas. In the Supreme Court case Shelby County v. Holder, the high court found that...
Lesson Planet

Should States Shift to Mail-In Voting during the Coronavirus Pandemic?

For Teachers 6th - 12th Standards
With the coronavirus pausing many norms in American society, officials are trying to decide how to safely hold voting in the 2020 presidential election. Using curated video clips, including speeches from Congress, journalists, and...
Lesson Planet

Presidential Debate Analysis

For Teachers 6th - 12th Standards
The modern presidency is defined by the development of television—including the use of televised debates in the campaign. Using debates going back to the first one between John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon, young scholars evaluate...
Lesson Planet

Evaluating Historical Presidential Campaign Ads

For Teachers 6th - 12th Standards
Political ads flood the airwaves each election cycle. An activity including more than a dozen political ads from iconic presidential campaigns helps learners unpack how the sausage gets made during election "silly season." Using the...
Lesson Planet

The Emoluments Clause and the President

For Teachers 9th - 12th Standards
While the Emoluments Clause didn't get a lot of attention before the 2016 election, all eyes have been on this short phrase in the Constitution with the election of Donald Trump. As a business owner, do his financial interests conflict...
Lesson Planet

The Dispute Over the South China Sea

For Students 9th - 12th Standards
Just who owns the South China Sea—and its vast resources—has been a conundrum for decades. Pupils explore the international law and disputes surrounding the resource-rich body of water, as well as China's claims over it. A background...
1 In 1 Collection 4:05
Lesson Planet

Reconstruction: The Black Codes

For Students 7th - 12th Standards
During the era of Reconstruction, the planter class of the South tried to replicate the time before the Civil War by squashing rights given in the Thirteenth, Fourteenths and Fifteenth amendments. Using a video clip featuring renowned...
Lesson Planet

Free, but Not Free: Life of Free Blacks Before the Civil War

For Teachers 9th - 11th Standards
Using the family stories of a famous comedian and singer-songwriter, learners consider what life was like for African Americans who were enslaved and free before the Civil War. To complete a concluding activity, they write about the...
1 In 1 Collection 5:59
Lesson Planet

Reconstruction: The Birth of a Nation - Rewriting History through Propaganda

For Students 7th - 12th Standards
How historically accurate was the film The Birth of a Nation? Using a video that features clips from the film and analysis from historians, young scholars explore the connection between art and history. Additional activities include...
1 In 1 Collection 2:57
Lesson Planet

Reconstruction: Ida B. Wells - Pioneer of Civil Rights

For Students 7th - 12th Standards
When Ida B. Wells was kicked off the whites-only ladies railway car, it ignited a ferocious warrior for civil rights. Wells and others worked to preserve the hard-won freedoms of Reconstruction, which were tenuous at best during...
1 In 1 Collection 7:05
Lesson Planet

Reconstruction: The 15th Amendment and African American Men in Congress

For Students 7th - 12th Standards
To escape to freedom, Robert Smalls had to steal a Confederate ship and sail to Union lines. He continued that fight for freedom as one of the first African American representatives in Congress during the Reconstruction era. Learners...
Lesson Planet

Featured Activity: How the Census Impacts My Community

For Teachers 9th - 12th Standards
Individuals have $50,000 to spend on a program at their schools—what will they do with the money? After looking at the Constitutional mandate, learners use a census simulation activity to consider the question. After conducting their own...
Lesson Planet

Ancient Philosophy: Greeks or Romans?

For Teachers 9th - 12th Standards
While often not recognized, the ideas of ancient Greek and Roman philosophers still echo today. Using a series of videos and graphic organizers, individuals explore how ancient Greeks and Romans have influenced current Western political...
Lesson Planet

Voting Rights in America: Government and Your Right to Vote

For Teachers 11th - 12th Standards
Gaining voting rights was difficult over the course of decades, but the debate over who should actually be allowed to cast a ballot remains. Scholars explore the history of the struggle, including the fifteenth and nineteenth amendments,...
Lesson Planet

Immigration: "Give Me your Tired, your Poor..."

For Teachers 9th - 12th Standards
Is America the land of opportunity? Learners sort out fact from fiction regarding why people immigrate to the United States and the laws affecting them using a list of web-based resources and case studies. After evaluating motivations...
Lesson Planet

Globalization Since 1945

For Teachers 11th Standards
Using sources from various publications and a series of videos, pupils consider the global economy and the positive and negative effects of globalization. With a jigsaw discussion and a writing assignment, scholars weigh in on whether...
Lesson Planet

Electoral College: Does My Vote Count?

For Teachers 9th - 12th Standards
How can a candidate get the most votes, yet still lose the race for the presidency? This is has happened more than once in American history, including in the elections of 2000 and 2016. Using an activity for creating group notes, young...
Lesson Planet

US History: Deconstructing Reconstruction

For Teachers 11th Standards
The United States faced a myriad of difficult questions at the end of the Civil War:  What should they do about the newly freed people? How should the South be treated for the rebellion? How to rebuild the Union? Using primary source...