Monthly Archives: November 2012

Teaching about the Presidential Elections

By Zemen Marrugi, M.Ed.

Yesterday, I started my Social Studies lesson with the question, “Is there a possibility that a Romney/Biden Administration can get inaugurated in January, 2013? If so, how?” I told the students to pounder on the question and to write their reflection on their papers. I was so impressed with all of the answers my students gave me.

I gave each student a ‘I voted’ sticker after our mock elections in class. They were very proud to voice their opinion and vote for their favorite candidate.

As a class, we have been huge fans of the Presidential Elections. We watched all three Presidential debates and analyzed the candidates’ behavior, response, and debating skills. We discussed the role of the popularity vote and the Electoral College and how the two influence the Presidential Elections. We read magazine articles on the different candidates and compared their tickets. Last year, my students even compared the four remaining Republican candidates and made our predictions on who was going to make it to Tampa, FL in August for the Republican National Convention. We also discussed the possibility of having a split vote in the Electoral College and what would happen if each candidate did receive 269 votes. As a teacher, I was so impressed with my students’ ability to have such educated feedback when so many higher-order thinking questions were tossed at them.

As the campaign trails come to an end, it is very important for educators to bring the role of the elections in the classroom. Having the students watch the debates and discuss them in the classrooms not only brought the curriculum to life, but also increased parental partnership because there were so many households where the parents watched the debates with their children. That powerful classroom that took place in their living rooms made the lessons even more productive because the information was reiterated by their parents and the students took ownership of the information they learned by sharing their opinion.

I have truly enjoyed following this year’s presidential elections with my students and encourage all educators, despite grade level, to always think outside the box when it comes to teaching. When your classes resume tomorrow, talk to your students about your voting experience and ask them questions about their relatives’ voting experience on Election Day. All depending on the age level, you can even discuss the different types of voting ballots from absentee to day of elections. Have a mock election where each student can vote for their favorite candidate. Make it fun, educational, and mostly importantly, relate the curriculum to the role it plays in their everyday lives. Here are some other ideas of how to incorporate the elections into your curriculum.

Lower Elementary

  • Students can color patriotic pages
  • Students can write friendly letters to local, state and federal election winners

Upper Elementary

  • Students can compare the popularity votes between states
  • Students can discuss the role negative advertisements played in the elections

Middle School

  • Students can review all of the different proposals and make predictions on why certain proposals were not passed
  • Students can discuss the role of the Electoral College and how the numbers are allocated between states

High School

  • Students can review a sample voting ballot from their local district and discuss how larger ballots can impact a voter’s frustration at the polls
  • Students can discuss why so much campaigning took place in the Swing States

To answer the question I asked my students yesterday-Yes, a Romney/Biden Administration can get inaugurated in January, 2013. To have this take place, an exact even split of 269 Electoral votes must first go to each candidates. The decision would then be sent to Congress with the Senate deciding on the President and the House of Representative deciding on the Vice-President. This means that the Senate can pick either Barack Obama or Mitt Romney, while the House of Representative can pick either Joe Biden or Paul Ryan. This may result in either a Romney/Biden or Obama/Ryan Administration to be inaugurated in January, 2013. My students loved learning about this law

Teaching is always so much fun!

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