25 May 2016

Election Year Social Studies Resources, Games, and Lessons

Election year is finally here and it is certainly one for the record books. One way or another, I have a feeling that this election year will be a pivotal moment in American history. While it is understandable that many history teachers may not want to get into political debates with their students or disclose their political leanings, it is still our responsibility to create upstanding citizens. One of the foundations of a representative democracy is voting. So here are some great tools to use to teach students about the civic virtue of voting in the upcoming election in November.

iCivics Election Resources: Key terms, lessons, and general information about elections.

Cast Your Vote (by iCivics): What issues do you want to ask candidates about? In Cast Your Vote, you choose the questions in a debate, rate their responses, and vote for the candidate of your choice.

Represent Me (by iCivics): In Represent Me!, you work as a legislator trying to meet the needs of your constituents.The people who voted you into office have various backgrounds, diverse opinions, and they each want different things from you. As their representative, you must consider their backgrounds before deciding what bills to sponsor in Congress.
Win the White House (by iCivics): Running for the presidency isn’t easy! In Win the White House, you get to manage your very own presidential campaign by strategically raising funds, polling voters, launching media campaigns, and making personal appearances. Keep a close eye on the map as you battle over electoral votes and popular support.

The ReDistricting Game: By exploring how the system works, as well as how open it is to abuse, The Redistricting Game allows players to experience the realities of one of the most important (yet least understood) aspects of our political system. The game provides a basic introduction to the redistricting system, allows players to explore the ways in which abuses can undermine the system, and provides info about reform initiatives - including a playable version of the Tanner Reform bill to demonstrate the ways that the system might be made more consistent with tenets of good governance. Beyond playing the game, the web site for The Redistricting Game provides a wealth of information about redistricting in every state as well as providing hands-on opportunities for civic engagement and political action

Do you have what it takes to win a Presidential Election?

  • Select a year and a candidate to find out.
  • You will answer questions about your platform and positions, and also about your campaign strategy.
  • The answers will affect your popularity for better or worse, both nationally and in individual states.
  • Walk the fine line between appealing to your base and winning a majority of the votes.
Isidewith: Website that compiles the positions of all candidates on a number of important issues. After taking the survey, they will tell you which candidate matches your beliefs and values. 

Well, that's all I have for now but hopefully these sites have given you a good start to begin teaching our students about the civic virtue of voting. 


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