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

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

A Handful of Videos to Help Students Understand the Electoral College

You can't go to a news site today and not see something about the upcoming U.S. Presidential election. When you do go to those sites you'll often find current polling data about the popularity of a given candidate and or the probability of a candidate winning. Those polls don't always predict who will win because the most popular (nationwide) candidate doesn't always win. That's due to the Electoral College system that we use to pick a president in the U.S. This is a concept that baffles a lot of students. Should you find yourself looking for some videos to help students understand how the Electoral College works, consider one of the following.

Does Your Vote Counts? is a TED-Ed lesson that offers a short explanation of the Electoral College by answering the question, "does your vote count?" The video for the lesson is embedded below.


How the Electoral College Works from C.G.P. Grey gives a nice overview of the Electoral College. The video isn't perfect, I wish the producer had included that the number of Electoral votes a state receives is tied to the number of Senators and Representative it has. Instead the video simply stated that the number of Electoral votes is tied to population. Overall, it's not a bad summary of the Electoral College.


Electing a US President produced by Common Craft provides a concise overview of the election process. The version embedded below is an update to the original that Common Craft released and I used in my classroom during the 2008 election.


Keith Hughes produced two videos about how the Electoral College was developed and how it works. The first video below is just one minute long. The second video, The Electoral College for Dummies, goes into much more depth.



Disclosure: I have a long-standing, in-kind relationship with Common Craft.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

The First Presidential Election - A Hip Hughes History Lesson

A few weeks ago in my post about the Electoral College I included a list of lessons about Presidential Elections from 1900 through 2012. Those lessons were created by Keith Hughes. This week he released another lesson. Keith's latest lesson is about the first Presidential election. In three minutes Keith runs-down what made the first election different from all that have come after it.


Applications for Education
After watching the video above ask your students to think about how campaigns today would be different without social media, television, or radio. Or flip that concept and have them use tools like this fake Facebook template to develop a social media advertising campaign for George Washington.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Running for Office - A Political Cartoon Exhibit

Running for Office is an online exhibit of the political cartoons of Clifford Berryman. Berryman is probably best known for his cartoon featuring Theodore Roosevelt having compassion for a bear cub. That cartoon inspired the creation of the Teddy Bear. Berryman drew political cartoons for Washington newspapers for more than fifty years.

The National Archives has put together a fifty-two page online exhibit of Berryman's cartoons. The cartoons chronicle the process of choosing the President. The exhibit also includes cartoons about running for Congress. Running for Office does a good job of explaining the meaning and historical context of the cartoons. Almost all of the cartoons in the exhibit can be downloaded for free.



















Applications for Education
Running for Office provides teachers of US History with excellent cartoons that they can use in their classrooms. The cartoons can be used for a lesson on satire or used for a lesson on a particular campaign or person from the early 20th century. Students can also study the collection of cartoons to compare the campaign process of today with that of the early 20th century.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
More than 100 Editorial Cartoon Lesson Plans
Pictures and Cartoons from PRI's The World
Lessons About Presidential Campaign Commercials

Thursday, January 15, 2009

44 Presidents in 4 Minutes

Here is a short video depicting every US President from Washington to Obama. I found the video interesting from a visual standpoint as each President's image is morphed into the next President's image.

Thanks to Ted Leonsis for the video link.


Applications for Education
The end of the semester is approaching in my school so I'm in a "review" frame of mind. I thought that this video might be a quick way to introduce a timeline style review to my US History class tomorrow morning. Tomorrow morning, I will be showing them this short video and then breaking them into groups to work on identifying the key events, policies, and actions that took place during each President's term.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Inaugural Addresses - Eisenhower Through Bush

Hulu's collection of inaugural addresses from Eisenhower through George W. Bush is the second educationally valuable item I found on Mashable today. Hulu has each inaugural address in its entirety for you and your students to watch online. I have embedded Jimmy Carter's inaugural address below.



Applications for Education
Watching some of the past inaugural addresses prior to or after Barack Obama's inauguration next week could be a good starting point for students to do a historical comparison assignment. You may want to have students pick a President, watch his inaugural speech and compare the issues of concern in that address with the one that Barack Obama delivers next week.


If you want students to go dig back a little farther and find out how each man came to win the Presidency, check out The Living Room Candidate. The Living Room Candidate is a collection of campaign commercials, debates, and speeches dating back to 1952.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Third Presidential Debate - Full Video

If you're looking for video of last night's Presidential debate C-Span has posted a full length video of it on YouTube. I've embedded the video below. If you teach in a school that blocks YouTube, you may want to try one of these alternative methods for viewing online videos.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Five Last Minute Debate Resources

Tonight is the final US Presidential Candidate debate. If you're in need of lesson plan ideas or resources for discussing tonight's debate or the 2008 US Presidential election in general, I have compiled a short list of resources which you will find below the video from CNN Student News. This video from CNN Student News outlines the history and formats of presidential debates. (If you're reading this in a RSS feeder you may need to visit the blog directly to see the video).


Resources for teaching lessons about the US Presidential debate and election.
The Living Room Candidate
Google 2008 Election Page and Maps
PBS Vote 2008 - Teachers and Students page
Analyzing the Language of Presidential Debates
C-Span Debate Hub

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Electoral Votes Prediction Map

As the 2008 Election Day approaches in the United States one of the topics sure to be discussed in civics and history classes is the Electoral College. One resources that will be of use to teachers discussing the Electoral College is the Electoral Votes Prediction map from Google Maps. Using this map students can click on each state and see how the overall election results will change based on how each state votes. As students click on each state the Electoral vote count changes at the bottom of the page.

If you're looking for more 2008 Election resources you may want to try the Common Craft explanation, C-Span's Election Resources, or Google's Election page.

The Electoral Votes Prediction map is embedded below.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

National Student/ Parent Mock Election

The National Student/Parent Mock election is being held on October 30, 2008. You can register your school to participate on the School Perceptions website. Even if you're school doesn't participate in the national mock election, you should still explore the curriculum materials that found on the National Mock Election website. In the curriculum section of the National Mock Election website teachers will find pdf's of lesson plan resources as well as a short animated movie and quizzes for students.

Applications for Education
The National Student/ Parent Mock Election provides a number of ways to get involved. If you're a classroom teacher I encourage you to visit the "how to get involved" for educators page for ideas about carrying out the election in your school. One way to get parents involved and modeling good citizenship would be to have mock election ballots available when they drop their students off at school.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Republican and Democratic Convention Resources

C-Span has launched two websites featuring user-generated content about the Democratic and Republican National Conventions. On each page visitors will find videos uploaded to the pages by convention attendees. Videos are being uploaded via YouTube and Qik. C-Span's "Convention Hub" pages will also feature comments from Twitter and the latest blog headlines from convention observers and participants.

Here are the links to C-Span's Convention Hub pages. Republicans Democrats

Here are the links to the official convention websites of the Republican Party and Democratic Party. On the Republican Convention website visitors will find information about how the history of the convention and the convention's organization. Click here to find that information. On the Democratic Convention website visitors will find a Convention 101 page featuring information about delegates, superdelegates, the organization of the convention and a glossary of terms used at the convention.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Lesson Plans About Presidential Campaign Commercials

The Living Room Candidate is an online exhibit of Presidential Campaign commercials from 1952 through 2004. The Living Room Candidate is part of a larger project called the Museum of the Moving Image. Visitors to The Living Room Candidate can view the commercials from each campaign from both parties. A written transcript is provided with each commercial. Provided along with each video is an overview of the political landscape of at the time of the campaigns. Visitors to the website can search for commercials by election year, type of commercial, or by campaign issue.

In order to view the commercials you will need to have either Windows Media Player or Real Player installed on your computer.

Applications for Education
The Living Room Candidate is a great resource for teaching lessons about the role of media and advertising in political campaigns. The Living Room Candidate has a good resource page for teachers which provides a series of eight sequential lesson plans.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

US Election Process Explained By Common Craft

The nice folks at Common Craft have produced another great video to explain a sometimes confusing concept in very plain English. In this video Common Craft explains in plain English how the United States elects a president. This short video will be used in my classroom this fall as I introduce my US History and Civics students to the Electoral College.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Opposing Views - Experts Debate Public Policy and More

Opposing Views is a new website created for purpose of having experts debate public policy and other issues of popular concern. Opposing Views has categorized debate channels which are subdivided by specific questions. For example in the religion channel one of the current questions is "Does Islam Promote Violence?" Verified experts from two organizations, American Watch and the Muslim Public Affairs Council, are offering their commentary on the question. In some ways reading the responses to the question is like reading the transcript from a debate television show like Meet the Press or Face the Nation.

Applications for Education
Opposing Views is a great place for students to find opposing viewpoints on a wide variety of public policy and public opinion questions. As the presidential election approaches, Opposing Views, could be a place for students to find opinions and information about both candidates. Opposing Views can also be used as a resource for teaching students lessons about argument organization and recognizing bias and fault in arguments.