USF's WebQuest 

Teacher's Page

Unit Summary Teacher's Resources Day 1 Lesson Day 2 Lesson
Day 3 Lesson Day 4 Lesson Day 5 Lesson Conclusion
Student Webquest      

Title:  The Presidential Election Process

Grade Level: 11-12

Author:  Damian Wulff                 

Date: April 15, 2006

Dear Colleague:

            This unit is designed to help students understand our presidential election process, particularly the crucial and too little mentioned Electoral College.  The first three days of the unit are set aside for addressing the nuts and bolts of the process and allowing students to discuss the their implications.  The final two days ask students to complete a webquest on the Electoral College, debate its merits, and then write an essay on the future relevance of the EC as part of our election process.  

Unit Summary:
Goals & Objectives:

        Students will be able to identify and discuss the primary elements of the presidential election process, including: candidacy requirements, primaries and caucuses, relevant political parties, etc.

        Students will demonstrate an understanding of the Electoral College, including the historical reasons behind its adoption.

        Students will, in writing a persuasive essay, critically analyze the necessity and desirability of retaining the Electoral College for future elections. 

NCSS Theme:

Power, Authority, and Governance: Social Studies programs should include experiences that provide for the study of how people create and change structures of power, authority, and governance, so that the learner can:

        (E) Distinguish among local, state, and national government and identify representative leaders at these levels such as mayor, governor, and president.

        (F) Identify and describe factors that contribute to cooperation and cause disputes within and among groups and nations.

      Individuals, Groups, and Institutions: Social Studies programs should include experiences that provide for the study of interactions among individuals, groups, and institutions, so that the learner can:

        (F) Give examples of the role of institutions in furthering both continuity and change.

        (G) Show how groups and institutions work to meet individual needs and promote the common good and identify examples where they fail to do so.

State Standards:

        SS.C.1.4 The student understands the structure, functions, and purposes of government and how the principles and values of American democracy are reflected in American constitutional government.

        SS.C.2.4 The student understands the role of the citizen in American democracy.

  
Days:

This unit is designed for 5 class periods, each lasting 60 minutes.

Content:

Unit content will include: the advent, development, and current role of primary elections; a brief historical and modern day review of relevant political parties; campaigns and nomination conventions; differences between direct and representative democracies; a study of how the Electoral College operates; an examination of the four elections most significantly impacted by the Electoral College; and discussion about the merits of the EC.   


Methods:

Factual information will be presented via a combination of direct instruction, video, individual reading of relevant articles or documents, PowerPoint presentations, and the utilization of webquest technology.  Ideas and perspectives will be encouraged through group discussion/debate and individual writing exercises. 

 

Webquest Summary:
Goals & Objectives:

        Students will develop an understanding of the various arguments for and against the continued use of the Electoral College in our presidential elections.

        Students will gain an appreciation for how the electoral votes of a particular state can influence the outcome of an election.

        Students will be able to recognize, define, and explain terminology and processes central to the Electoral College.

Days:

This webquest is designed for 2 class periods (of the 5 allotted for the entire unit). 

Content:

Covered topics include: how the Electoral College operates and what it might take to change the current election process, the impact of the Electoral College on four previous elections (including the 2000 presidential election of George W. Bush), how the electoral map can be unbalanced by the vote in certain key states, and whether the Electoral College is still necessary.       

Methods:          

Students will individually research designated websites and then participate in a brief class wide discussion designed to stimulate ideas and considerations prior to completing the persuasive essay task.   

                                                                               

                                                                                  Teachers Resources 

 

Background Resources

 

Web-based Subject Matter Content

http://rs6.loc.gov/learn/features/election/elecprocess.html

http://memory.loc.gov/learn/features/election/partysys.html

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A16923-2004Nov1.html

http://bensguide.gpo.gov/9-12/election/index.html

 

Web Pedagogy Content

http://depts.washington.edu/cidrweb/TLBulletins/2(3)Discussion.html

http://school.discovery.com/schrockguide/webquest/webquest.PDF

http://k12.albemarle.org/AlbemarleHS/ClassPages/shepard/WebQuest/WritingEditorials.htm

 Webquest Student Resources

http://usgovinfo.about.com/library/weekly/aa102200a.htm

http://www.law.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/conlaw/electoralcoll.htm

http://www.archives.gov/federal-register/electoral-college/calculator.html

http://www.socialstudiesforkids.com/articles/government/theelectoralcollege.htm

http://www.archives.gov/federal-register/electoral-college/about.html

 

Day 1    Back to Top
Lesson Plan Outline

Method (Attention Getter, Lecture, Callout Group, etc)

Content/Key Ideas/Concepts/Facts
 

Materials
(Transparencies, audio, handouts, etc)

 Attention Getter

Engage student interest through audio clip from Martin Luther King Jr. speech on power of collective action. 

A Call to Conscience (CD of MLK speeches), CD player

 Guided Discussion

Who has the power -the President or the people? 

Food 4 Thought Questions

 PowerPoint Presentation

The Presidential Election Process.

The Election Process PowerPoint

 Homework Assignment

Students will write a one page reflective essay on whether or not national politics has any impact on their day to day life.   

Does D.C. affect me Handout

 

Day 2    Back to Top
Lesson Plan Outline

Method (Attention Getter, Lecture, Callout Group, etc)

Content/Key Ideas/Concepts/Facts
 

Materials
(Transparencies, audio, handouts, etc)

Small Group Brainstorming Activity

Activate prior knowledge about the days topics by having students work in small groups to list keywords, phrases, ideas that come to mind about each. 

Get started examples on blackboard

 Individual Reading/Lecture 

Parties, Primaries and National Conventions.  Use teacher selected readings and teacher created summary overheads to supplement/review the brainstorming activity.         

Projector, overhead on each topic, reading handouts

 Guided Discussion

 November is just around the corner and Im still clueless.  What should I already know?

More Food 4 Thought  Questions 

 Homework Assignment

 Students will write a one page reflective essay, from the perspective of a candidate, on what voters should know before election day and why.

You should vote for me because Handout

 

Day 3    Back to Top
Lesson Plan Outline

Method (Attention Getter, Lecture, Callout Group, etc)

Content/Key Ideas/Concepts/Facts
 

Materials
(Transparencies, audio, handouts, etc)

 Attention Getter 

Engage students on the days topics through a video  montage of television advertisements from recent presidential campaigns and elections.

 Videotape and VCR

 Individual Reading/Lecture

 Campaigns, Elections and the Electoral College.   Use teacher selected readings and teacher created summary overheads to introduce and present key concepts related to each. 

Projector, overhead on each topic, reading handouts 

 Guided Discussion 

 The importance of voting/participating in the election process.  Whats the point anyway?

To Vote or Not to Vote Questions

 Homework Assignment

Students will write a one page reflective essay on whether or not negative campaigning is acceptable.

 Im no angel Handout

 

Day 4    Back to Top
Lesson Plan Outline

Method (Attention Getter, Lecture, Callout Group, etc)

Content/Key Ideas/Concepts/Facts
 

Materials
(Transparencies, audio, handouts, etc)

Lecture

Brief lecture on webquests and how to approach the assigned webquest task.

Computer, projector  

Individual Webquest Activity 

Students will utilize the internet resources provided to explore the history, functions, and relevance of the Electoral College.

Computers, hard copy handouts (in case needed), Student Webquest

 

Day 5    Back to Top
Lesson Plan Outline

Method (Attention Getter, Lecture, Callout Group, etc)

Content/Key Ideas/Concepts/Facts
 

Materials
(Transparencies, audio, handouts, etc)

 Webquest Activity Cont. 

Students will finish internet research on the Electoral College and begin outlining personal essay. 

Computers, hard copy handouts (in case needed, Student Webquest

 Guided Discussion

 Debating the Electoral College the pros and cons.

Food 4 Thought Questions 3 

 Homework Assignment

 Students will write a 2-3 page typed, double spaced essay on whether or not the Electoral College serves a valuable purpose and should be kept in place for future elections.   

Review handout from first four days of unit. 

 

Conclusion:

         Upon completion of this unit students should be able to not only recognize and define the terms and concepts critical to the presidential election process, but also to intelligently discuss, analyze, and write about a variety of related issues.  This unit, through its emphasis on discussion and reflective writing, is also designed to leave students with the idea that the political process, particularly the election process, is something they CAN comprehend and impact - not something so complicated or so far removed from their lives that learning about it and becoming involved in it is a waste of time.

 

Back to Top