Sunday, August 03, 2008

Vote For Me! An Elections Unit Study for Young Candidates

On August 6, 2008, I began be e-teaching a class on elections via this blog. The class took each student through developing their own presidential candidacy, including creating a campaign commercial, developing a platform, and interviewing constituents. By working on our own campaigns, we learned social studies, history, math, science, music and art lessons. Here on this site each week, there were printables to download, songs, lesson plans, project ideas, bias-free encouragement, and a guideline for taking students through this experience.

The class was designed to be tailored by you to meet your child at his or her level, so the materials are flexible and can be used for a variety of ages. If you liked my Treasure Island seminar, you'll love this class. We will sing the presidents, deconstruct slogans, study the effects of political rhetoric on heart rates of the speaker, and more! The class will culminate on Election Day, with one more lesson during January showcasing the inauguration. Here's a list of what's in store, with links to classes I have already posted:

Prelude: Election Overview
What is voting and who is the president?
Why vote? Why not just agree?
Majority and Minority: How we decide
States and the Electoral College
Voting Rights

Class #1. Let’s Get This Party Started
Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians
Inventing a political party
Defining Issues
Picking a mascot
Picking a name
Posters: Strongly agree, agree, disagree, strongly disagree.

Class #2. Unconventional Conventions
The “a man who” speech
Physical effects of listening to political rhetoric
Choosing a running mate
Duct Tape Convention Hats
Balancing the Ticket
Interpeting Promotional Media

Class #3. The Platform and the Stump
Prioritizing issues to write a platform
Campaign Promises
Creating a stump speech in 5 paragraphs
Pause for applause: Delivering the stump speech
Planning a campaign trip – map

Class #4. A Poster You Can Believe In
Choosing an Image
Icons and Imagery
Where can you put your poster?
Slogans Past and Present
How Much Can You Remember?

Class #5. Commercial Break

Choosing music, background, clothing
Types of ads: Negative, Warm/Fuzzy, Scare, Humor
Famous political ads through history of TV
Spin Worksheet
HTML Template for Campaign Site

This project is free and open to all students interested in current events. If you do use the materials, I would love to hear about it and see pictures!


  1. Lydia, we are all over this. Thanks so much for sharing your brain power with the world, the world needs it.

  2. What a cool idea! :D

  3. Anonymous8:07 AM

    Count us in! Perfect timing too. We are just starting back from a month long break. You are awesome.

  4. Anonymous9:46 AM

    I just found your site today & I am soooooooo glad I did. This election class looks GREAT! We're in!!!
    I was going to try to do a study about this for us anyway, but had not even half of the ideas you listed.
    Thanks so much for offering this. We'll be back tomorrow for day 1!

  5. Anonymous11:45 AM

    How perfect!! Found your site from the Carnival of Homeschooling. :o) This will be the perfect way to kick off our school year.

  6. Anonymous5:44 PM

    this is an interesting and interactive academic exercise. i happen to have a blog devoted to campaign tactics, etc. so the folks working on these exercises might be interested

  7. This seems interesting enough. I'll see if the kids want to work it in. Very busy this fall, but always worth a try :)

  8. Thank you so much for this! I'm doing five weeks on the election for our coop, and your material is heavily featured this week. So much of what I've found is either trite or too complicated or intellectual for the age group I'm working with (7-12). Your's is just right. Any plans to do any more weeks?

  9. Hi Alison. :)

    I did week 5, that is here:

    I plan to get to the rest of it, but the Book Arts Bash has kind of overwhelmed things around here! :) The unit study served a wonderful purpose for us of getting the children interested and involved in politics, understanding the things they were seeing on TV and all around them. That may be as far as it goes, this election cycle! :)