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Cynthia Mathis
Cynthia Mathis
(Reno - United States)

Politics and Political Parties: Lesson Plans

Political Parties

Chapter 4: Political Parties and Voting Behavior

Cyber-Activism & Political Participation

This is a lesson about political participation & the new methods developed since the rise of media and technology - specifically cyber-activism.

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Seg 3: "The Ground Game: Grassroots Politics and a Youth Perspective" Social Studies and Language Arts Lesson Plans

Social Studies Curriculum: Students will understand how political campaigns use polling data to understand voter appeal of their candidate and what issues are most sensitive to their concerns. Students will then take this information and create a campaign-organizing project to inform potential voters about the candidates.

Language Arts Curriculum: Students will analyze the effectiveness of the language that grassroots political organizers use to connect with different voting groups and to achieve political goals. They will also develop multimedia presentations while using persuasive visuals and language to convey political messages.

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Political Campaigning Lesson Plan

This lesson plan introduces students to a few of the key campaign tools politicians use to help get themselves elected. It introduces them by looking at real-life examples and then asks them to synthesize the information by creating their own advertisements and pamphlets.

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Vietnam War: Political Divisions

This lesson serves to provide students with an understanding of the political divisions that emerged with regards to the Vietnam War in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Students will have some background information about this topic both from this course and from United States History courses taken in middle school. Students will have a firm understanding of activism in the 1960s after having learned about the Counterculture in the previous chapter of their textbook. Students will have some knowledge about the Vietnam War and some of the political divisions that sprouted from this event from their middle school classes in United States History. It is important to discuss the political divisions about the Vietnam War because students will learn methods employed by other students in the past to express their political views (students can make connections to the world beyond the classroom), the role of music in the anti-war movement (again making connections to the world beyond the classroom), ways that the home front during the Vietnam War was unique (allowing students to engage in ethical valuing and to make connections to the world beyond the classroom), and how the American government was influenced by the Vietnam War (integrating topics in government).

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Media and Political Communication

Through researching with their partner, writing a research paper, and presenting on their findings, students will gain a thorough understanding of the significance of the changing roles of media in political communication and the effects those different types of media have on the public.

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Political TV Advertisement Project

Seg 2: "Debates and the Race for the White House" Social Studies and Language Arts Lesson Plans

Social Studies Curriculum: At the conclusion of the lesson students will: (1)Explain the impact Presidential Debates have had on the electoral process and defend their answers with specific historical examples; (2) Summarize major aspects of historical Presidential Debates; (3) Analyze major aspects of historical Presidential Debates; (4) Identify and classify political issues; and (5) Take and defend a political position.

Language Arts Curriculum: Students will explore in depth some of the issues that will be featured during the presidential and vice-presidential debates and develop a summary document of the candidates' stand on the issues. They will use this information to evaluate the candidates' performance during the presidential and vice-presidential debates.

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Elect Me! Creating a Campaign Platform and Video Commercial

This lesson was created using the Nortel LearniT 6E + S template for integrating technology within the curriculum.
 

Overview:
 

What is a Democrat? What is a Republican? How are they elected to the United States Congress? What qualifies a candidate to run for office? What are their roles in Congress? This lesson is designed to encourage students to investigate these questions and decide which party best fits their political views. Students will use the Internet to research and identify the political views of each party and video production to create and record campaign commercials.
 

Technology Integration:
 

Discovering the Internet, Digital Imaging, Video Production
 

Prerequisite Experience:
 

Students should know how to conduct Internet searches and demonstrate some knowledge of video production and digital camera operation. In addition, students need familiarity with a video editing program.
 

Teacher Prep Time:
 

1 - 2 hours

Teachers should review the following resources:

• Discovering the Internet, http://nortellearnit.org/technology/Discovering_the_Internet/

• Imaging, http://nortellearnit.org/technology/Imaging/

• Video Production, http://nortellearnit.org/technology/Video_Productions/

If you have access to United Streaming, the following videos may be used to further student understanding.

• The United States Congress. Discovery Education. 2001. Discovery Education. 20 October 2008 http://streaming.discoveryeducation.com/

• The United States House of Representatives. Discovery Education. 2001. Discovery Education. 20 October 2008 http://streaming.discoveryeducation.com/

• The United States Senate. Discovery Education. 2001. Discovery Education. 20 October 2008 http://streaming.discoveryeducation.com/
 

Estimated Time for Completion:
 

Approximately 8, 50-minute class periods
 

Materials:
 

Computer with internet access and video-processing software Digital Camera that can record video TV
 

Project:
 

Students will research and understand the political views of the Democratic and Republican parties. Based upon their research, students will choose which party best fits their political views and pose as a candidate for election to the United States House of Representatives or the United States Senate. Students will work in pairs with one student acting as a candidate for office and the other student assuming the role of campaign manager. Using video production, students will design and present a 3-5 campaign commercial outlining their political platform.
 

Time Management Tips:
 

Students will work in pairs to complete the lesson. One student will act as a candidate for office and the other student will assume the role of campaign manager.
 

Assessment:
 

An evaluation rubric is provided below to use for assessment.
 

Engage:
 

Do you know what major event takes place on the first Tuesday in November?  This is commonly referred to as Election Day in the United States.  Every two years, American citizens cast their vote for candidates running for the United States House of Representatives and the United States Senate.

In the U.S., most of our elected officials come from either the Democratic or the Republican party. Although both parties differ in their political views, they both share the job of making and amending laws. 

Revisit what you already know about Democrats, Republicans and the election process.  What are some similarities and differences between the two parties?  How do the citizens learn the political platforms of the candidates running for office? What role do campaign managers play in elections?

In this lesson, you will have the opportunity to run for a seat in the House of Representatives or the U.S. Senate or to be the campaign manager of the candidate. You will research and identify the political views of the Democratic and Republican Party.  Moreover, you and your campaign manager will choose a party and create a 3-5 minute campaign commercial that will be viewed by your classmates.
 

Explore:
 

You and your partner will begin your exploration by researching the parties.  Keep the following questions in mind:

•    What are the major political views of each party?
•    What are the qualifications for election to the U.S. House of Representatives?
•    What are the qualifications for election to the U.S. Senate?
•    Which party fits best with your political views?
•    What are some effective campaign strategies current or prior officeholders have used?
•    What is the role of a campaign manager?
•    What types of political ads do candidates create when running for office?
•    What forms of propaganda do they use?

The following video will help you get started in your search:

Discovering the Internet,
http://nortellearnit.org/technology/Discovering_the_Internet\\
The following websites will help you get started in your investigation:

The Democratic Party
www.democrats.org

The Republican Party
www.gop.com

The United States Library of Congress
http://thomas.loc.gov/

The House of Representatives
www.house.gov

The U.S. Senate
www.senate.gov
 

Explain:
 

1.    With your partner, discuss the information you found during the research process. 

2.    Next, decide which of you will be the candidate and which will be the campaign manager.  Keep in mind that the campaign manager is equally as important as the candidate.  He or she is an extremely visible leader for the candidate.  The campaign manager should help the candidate in all areas of the lesson.

3.    If you are the candidate, decide which party you want to represent, which office you would like to hold and three to five possible issues that would be concerns for the voters.

4.    Which voters will you appeal to?

5.    Decide what type of propaganda you will use in your commercial.

6.    Create a list of possible issues to share with your audience. Remember to use content that will grab their attention and persuade them to vote for you.

7.    Once you have made your decisions, view the following videos at Nortel LearniT to help you produce your campaign commercial. 


8.    Storyboard your ideas using the storyboard template below.

9.    Decide where and when you will shoot your commercial.  

10.    Schedule a meeting with your teacher to discuss your plans.
 

(a video production storyboard template has been provided as a Word document, attached at the bottom of this lesson plan)
 

Elaborate:
 

1.    Use the information you collected to create a 3-5 minute campaign commercial encouraging voters to elect you to office.

2.    Review the videos on Video Production and Post Production found at:
http://www.nortellearnit.org/technology/Video_Productions/\\
3.    Use images and video clips found on the Internet to produce a professional campaign commercial.  An editing program, such as Windows Movie Maker2, can be used to aid in the production.  It can be download for free at:
http://microsoft.com/windowsxp/using/moviemaker/video/likeapro.mspx\\
TIP:  when you decide what images, sounds or text that you want to use in your production, be sure to check for copyright notices.  Some websites want you to use their materials for educational projects while others do not.  A good practice for you should be to look for an email address on the web page you want to use materials from and send a request for permission to use it in your class production.

In addition, it is important that you cite materials you use in your production.  The format that is typically used is as follows:

Last Name, First Name of Author (if known).  “Title of work/article/page.”  Title of complete Document (if applicable).  Date last modified.  URL (date visited).

4.    Make sure you have all the necessary equipment needed for your production.  Use the checklist below to help you gather the equipment.  The checklist can also be found on the Nortel LearniT website at:
http://nortellearnit.org/resources/Handouts/

5.    Shoot your campaign commercial.

6.    Edit your commercial using editing software, such as the one listed above.  In addition, use the editing tips listed below to aid your process.

7.    Share your recorded commercial with your class.

(a checklist and production tips have been attached as a Word document, located at the bottom of this lesson plan.)
 

Evaluate:
 

Your campaign commercial will be assessed using the evaluation rubric found at the bottom of this lesson plan. It can be downloaded to use at your convenience. 

Self-evaluation
:  Evaluate your own progress and accomplishments on this project.  Include what you have learned, what you contributed to the presentation, what you could improve and how you might use this knowledge with future events or projects.
 

Extend:
 

Consider these suggestions for extending the lesson.

1.    Show your commercial to your family and friends.  Describe their responses to the commercial.  Did they agree or disagree with your platform and ideas?

2.    Conduct a similar project on the state level.  How are the state and federal levels of Congress different?

3.    Create a class website that features your commercials. 

4.    In addition to commercials, have a mock debate with other candidates.  Then, set up a mock election and let your school vote.

Related Resources

Congress Link

http://www.congresslink.org/\\
The Dirksen Congressional Center

http://www.dirksencenter.org/\\
Congress for Kids

http://www.congressforkids.net/\\
The Democratic Party

www.democrats.org\\
The Republican Party

www.gop.com

The United States Library of Congress

http://thomas.loc.gov/

The House of Representatives

www.house.gov

The U.S. Senate

www.senate.gov
 

Required Attachments:
 

    storyboard.doc 
    checklist.doc 
    ElectMeRubric.pdf 
    ElectMe.doc