Lesson Plan


This is a lesson plan dealing with political parties. In it students will examine the differences between the Democrat and Republican parties by looking at the viewpoints of each party in relation to current controversial issues. Students will also be responsible for creating a video in this lesson to highlight what they have learned.


  • Social Studies > General
  • Social Studies > Civics
  • Social Studies > Current Events
  • Social Studies > Government
  • Social Studies > Political Systems

Education Levels:

  • Grade 6
  • Grade 7
  • Grade 8
  • Grade 11
  • Grade 12
  • Higher Education
  • Graduate
  • Undergraduate-Upper Division
  • Undergraduate-Lower Division


Political Parties Democrat Republican Current Events Controversial Issues Civics



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Creative Commons Attribution 3.0
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Curriki Rating
On a scale of 0 to 3
On a scale of 0 to 3

This resource was reviewed using the Curriki Review rubric and received an overall Curriki Review System rating of 2, as of 2013-12-31.

Component Ratings:

Technical Completeness: 3
Content Accuracy: 2
Appropriate Pedagogy: 2

Reviewer Comments:

This resource is a lesson plan that helps students gain a better understanding of the two major political parties. Students learn the content through direct instruction and then apply the information by creating a video that highlights views on controversial issues. The lesson includes a google presentation that has an overview of the parties and an introduction to the project. It also has the list of issues that are divided amongst the student groups. It is recommended that instructors provide additional sources on the political parties and an example video to demonstrate clear expectations for the project. The lesson uses information from the 2008 election, and teachers may want to update to the 2012 election.
Louis Toedt
June 22, 2012

I like your idea for a bellringer question as well as the fact that you're getting students to do some writing at the beginning of class. I think grading them is a good idea too, if only for the fact that I believe you will get much more thoughtful and complete responses if you incentivize that activity with a concrete grade; to paraphrase Brandon, kids are obsessed with getting 'credit' for everything they do. My only main piece of constructive criticism would be that I think the instructions for the videos they're supposed to create are a bit vague. To be specific, I think that having them create videos where they explain the positions of both parties is a good idea, and I think having them create videos that advertise a specific party's viewpoint is also a good idea, but I'm not sure how comapatible those two ideas are with each other. Especially since each group is dealing with multiple issues, it just seems like it would be a lot for them to string together, and that you might end up with a lot of videos that are incoherent or incomplete. Basically, I think the overall idea is pretty solid though and it's always good when you can help increase your students' technological literacy. Nice job, and best of luck next year and beyond!

rebecca hunt
June 21, 2012

Gary and Jason,

Great work guys! What I was really keen on in this lesson was how structured it was and that you guys gave students strict guidelines for creating their videos. I think that this is very important for students to have this structure so that they constantly remain on track and don’t feel like they are give an assignment and still have many unanswered questions about the requirements. I have no real suggestions for this lesson; I think that you guys really nailed it! I felt like everything was address very well and that students would not fell misguided or lost during the lesson or the creation of their video. GREAT JOB!!

Danielle Meservey
June 21, 2012

I really like the topic you chose. I think it is important for students, especially 12th graders to understand the positions of the democratic and republican parties on important issues. This will help them identify their own positions and hopefully begin to figure out which party they might actually belong to. I like that the lesson incorporates lecture along with student research and use of technology. I can't think of much that I would do differently for this lesson.

Eric Milis
June 21, 2012

Jason and Gary this lesson is fantastic, you guys put a lot of thought and detail into the lesson and have accounted for nearly every aspect of the subject. What I liked that you guys did was have multiple groups each with multiple issues to go over. This allows the class to study a wide range of issues and eliminated the unnecessary waste of time for students to each go over the same issues. One thing I will suggest is that in these groups make sure each student has something specific to do, so one student isn't doing all the work while others stand by. With a video it does engage all students, but the roles of each student can vary. You just have to be specific on how much work each student must do, otherwise the lesson looks great!

alton kuhn
June 19, 2012

Jason, this lesson looks great. I think it is vital for students to understand political parties because as I found out in my internship many of them don't, even at the 12th grade level. I like your use of the SmartBoard to engage students in a lecture. Making students create a video is a good way for students to express their views creatively and I really like how you are enforcing a set of guidelines for the video in order to keep things on point sand focussed. I think this lesson is terrific and could be used in a 7th grade civics class as well, as long as the material was presented in a more watered down fashion.

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