Help your students understand the process of electing officials and the power of the vote by holding a mock election. A mock election can involve much more than students simply checking their vote on an index card.
Turn your classroom into campaign headquarters! Here are some ideas to get you started and to make sure that your students are well informed about U.S. politics, especially the presidential election.
Have students research the branches of government and political parties. Hold class discussions to talk about which branches of the government the election candidates have served.
Discuss candidates (and running mates) for each party — their bios, political resume, where they stand on issues, and what they plan to bring to office. Examine campaign slogans and advertisements, or talk about the value of political polls. You may want your students to try creating their own slogans or ads, or to take a poll of the views of the class or school.
Have students write about or discuss the current issues of importance being debated by candidates. From war and the environment to the economy, foreign relations, and health care, discuss which issues rank higher in priority. Bring students to the understanding that they should choose to vote for a candidate based on their views of these issues. This is a good time for students to look closely at candidates' campaign speeches and websites.
Hold a mock debate over the issues being discussed during the current election. Students could go so far as to pretend to be candidates, running mates, or spouses. Or, have students research and reenact historic debates from past presidential elections.
Hold or participate in a mock vote. Don't forget to have students mock-register to vote, prior to the mock election.
Don't forget to decorate your classroom with a patriotic theme.
Celebrate after the election with a mock inaugural ball. Invited a mock president to give the presidential address.
Engage students in government by holding a mock election in your classroom! After reading Margaret Chase Smith: A Woman for President Mock Election Guide, use the research ideas, discussion questions, and activities in this guide to teach your class about U.S. political parties, presidential debates, political campaigns, and voting.
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