Showing posts with label Election Maps. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Election Maps. Show all posts

Friday, October 31, 2008

Google Earth Gets Political (kind of)

One of the things that makes Google Earth and Google Maps so popular is its flexibility for representing so many types of data. Yesterday, on the Google LatLong blog I found a KMZ file representing the voting outcomes of each US Presidential Election since 1980. Much of the same information is also available in a Google Map (embedded below).

Applications for Education
This file and map is a good visual depiction of voting results, but more importantly it represents yet another way to incorporate Google Maps or Google Earth into the classroom. An interesting use of this concept in middle school or high school classes would be to have students gather voting data from a local or state election and place that data into a Google Earth project. For example, an question on the ballot in Maine this fall is whether or not to allow the building of a casino in Oxford County. After the election next week students could gather the break down of votes by county state-wide and create visual representations of the vote.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Electoral College Teaching Resources

Yesterday, I posted a link to the Google Election resources page. Today, I have seven more resources that teachers will find useful for teaching lessons about the Electoral College.

There are many many websites featuring different interactive election maps. Each of these maps generally use the red state v. blue state graphic to show how each state voted in previous elections and what the polls are indicating for the upcoming election. For the sake of brevity I'm only going to highlight three in this blog post. Each of the following resources offer something a little more than just a map

Five Thirty Eight, named after the total number of electoral votes possible, draws on polling data from multiple polling agencies to form a variety of possible scenarios and election outcomes. The blog section of the site seems somewhat biased, but the scenarios and data are useful nonetheless.

Electoral Vote's interactive map includes data for each election back to and inclusive of 1992. The really neat feature found on Electoral Vote is the animated map that shows changes in polling results over time. Visitors can watch the map change in relation to the changes in polling data over the course of a month or year.

270 to Win, named after the number of electoral votes needed to win, has neat election simulator demonstrating possible election outcomes. Visitors to 270 to Win will also want to check out the historical election data dating back to the first election. The historical data is categorized by state.

Electoral College Lesson Plans
NARA, the US National Archive and Records Administration, has built a great website for students and teachers. The teacher page offers links to detailed lesson plans. The lesson plan titled the Tally of 1824 is one of the most thorough Electoral College lesson plans that I have seen anywhere. The Tally of 1824 lesson plan addresses not only the basic process of the Electoral College, it also includes the ideas of faithless electors and the possibility of losing the popular vote but winning the election.

The Washington Post's Electoral College Prediction Map provides teachers with an opportunity to include math in a civics lesson. When you first arrive at the map you will see that it is blank. Users select each state to be a Republican or Democratic state. The counter on the side of the map keeps track of the number of votes for each party. Students can experiment with combinations of states to create different winning scenarios. Teachers could ask students to explore this question, "what is the minimum number of states required to win?"

Of course, I would be remiss not to mention again the great video from Common Craft that explains the US Presidential Election process in plain English. Here is the video.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Free Technology For Teachers: UWire and an Interactive Election Map

UWire is an aggregator of news and stories created by college media outlets around the country. UWire is affiliated with hundreds of colleges across the country and is owned by CBS. UWire provides student generated coverage of a wide range of topics, some serious topics (see the election map above) and some not-so-serious topics (the Oscars).

Application for Educators
The interactive election map on UWire is a great teaching resource. By clicking on a state the student is provided with information related to the caucus or primary in that state. The map also provides demographic information about each state as well as a break-down of 2004's election results in each state.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Free Technology For Teachers: Using Google Maps in the Classroom

On the Google Maps Mania blog there is a list of 100 or more things you can do with Google Maps. I've used Google maps to show various demographic and physical features to students. Below you should see a Google Map of the Presidential Primaries with comments from Twitter users occasionally appearing on the map.

Application for Educators
Google maps can be used to show demographic data, physical features, political landmarks, and much more. The overlay feature of Google Maps is a good way to demonstrate to students how physical features impact demographic features. Use some the historical map overlays to show students how physical features played a role in military battles.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Free Technology For Teachers: One More Election Resource

Here is one more election resource. The BBC has an interactive map with information about each state and its role in the primary and caucus season. The BBC also offers a number of other resources linked to the interactive map including videos and audio slide shows of the primaries in pictures.

Applications for Educators
The BBC is a good resource to use in the classroom to show students a point of view different than what they will find on US-based websites.

Free Technology For Teachers: Super Tuesday- A Super Step on the Path to the Presidency

CNN has an Elections 101 section that succinctly explains the path to the White House for the next president. Like NPR, CNN has an election map with dates. The CNN map (see left) is not as interactive as the NPR map, but what CNN does have is the complete collection of CNN sponsored debates available for free on video.

Applications For Educators
The Election 101 page is good reference from which students can gain a basic understanding of the election process. The video section is a good resource for showing students how a debate actually works as well as exposing students to the positions of the various candidates. All of the videos are available for download in Quick Time or Windows Media formats.

Free Technology For Teachers: Why Super Tuesday is Important- NPR Report

It's Super Tuesday! Super Tuesday is arguably the most important day in the election process. National Public Radio ( has an interactive election map to accompany its podcast coverage of Super Tuesday. Click on the map to try it out. To listen to a podcast from NPR about Super Tuesday click here.

Application for Educators
The NPR interactive map is a good teaching tool and resource for students. The NPR interactive map has a state by state and in some cases county by county break down of the primaries and caucuses. The map includes a calendar of events for each state. The map also has a time line of events.