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Decoding Elections: Process, Persuasion & Participation - NewseumEd

Grades
6 to 12
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Don't shy away from teaching about the elections because of all the nastiness and confusion. Instead get help from NewseumEd's latest Collection: Decoding Elections: Process, Persuasion...more
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Don't shy away from teaching about the elections because of all the nastiness and confusion. Instead get help from NewseumEd's latest Collection: Decoding Elections: Process, Persuasion & Participation. Study the historical conditions and circumstances of controversial political campaigns to gain an understanding of today's campaign tactics and messages. Go back as far as the 1880s to learn about mudslinging and nasty accusations in the election and where and when nasty ads got their start. This NewseumEd Collection approaches understanding by using primary sources and case studies (use the drop down menu for Education Collection). The case studies start at the very beginning of an election and go right through to the end. They all include lesson plans with an issue summary, debate question, tools for organizing evidence for the discussions, election essentials, primary sources, guiding questions, and an extension activity. Optional resources for some of the case studies include NewseumEd's Pinterest pages (links provided with those Case Studies). To get started there are a few helpful interactives to go with this Collection: the Political Personality Quiz, Candidate Match, and Predict the Election. Registration with NewseumEd is necessary to access all sources, but is entirely free.

tag(s): democracy (19), elections (80), presidents (121), primary sources (117)

In the Classroom

Whether the nation or your local government is going through an unpleasant, combative election campaign, or even during a yearly unit on the elections this collection from Newseum will help students understand our political system. Pique student interest by having them take the Political Personality Quiz. In small groups have students discuss whether or not they agree with the results. Next, you may want to use the Candidate Match to refine their political profile further, and then discuss how they feel about the candidate they matched up with and why they feel that way. While using any or all of the case studies with your students, don't forget to download the Activity, Handout, and Worksheet. All of the case studies have discussion topics.

All students need to have a voice during discussions, whether discussing as a class or in small groups, allow everyone to share their opinions and concerns using a backchannel tool for the class such as GoSoapBox, reviewed here, or with older students, in small groups, using a tool like Slack, reviewed here. Extension activities encompass making charts, lists, (use tools like 25 Language Arts Graphic Organizers, reviewed here, or Holt Interactive Graphic Organizers, reviewed here), researching a candidate creating a slogan and explaining why the slogan fits that candidate, and creating a campaign event. For the latter two extension suggestions use a tool such as Adobe Creative Cloud Express for Education, reviewed here.

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