Lesson PlansBack to lesson plans archive November 14, 2017
Lesson plan: Do midterm elections matter?
Help students gain an understanding of midterm elections and discuss reasons why voter turnout remains low.
Civics, social studies, U.S. government, U.S. history, English Language Arts
One 50-minute class period
Warm Up Activity
Explain the basics of the elections in the House and the Senate.
- The House elects every two years and the Senate elects every six years; therefore, there are seats that are up for election between every presidential election.
- The midterm elections are often connected to how the public feels about the president as well as presidential job approval ratings.
- Ask your students what made these midterm elections have a historic (do you agree with the characterization ‘devastating’) place in history by listening to this NPR story, “The devastating history of midterm elections.”
2. 2018 midterm elections
- Check out the website 270 To Win to find out what midterm elections are taking place in your state in 2018.
- Let your students know they will be following a midterm race of their own choosing. However, races that are considered to be close will be more interesting to track.
- Students should track the race leading up to the election. Make sure students know the issues being debated but ask them to examine one of the issues in greater depth.
- Students should provide brief weekly updates to the class on their race at least one month leading up to the election.
- Report the results back to class the day after Election Day, which is on Tuesday, November 6, 2018. Were they surprised by the results?
- Have students should read the PBS NewsHour article about the midterm elections held in 2014 to see if any concerns about voter turnout may apply to 2018 elections.
By Stephanie Schragger, history teacher at St. Ann’s School.
Tooltip of related stories
Tooltip of more video block
Tooltip of RSS content 3
Lesson plan – Student Reporting Labs explore how youth deal with misinformation
Find out what young people really think about the news and the spread of misinformation using a variety of short videos produced by PBS NewsHour’s Student Reporting Labs (SRL). Continue readingdigital literacyELAenglishfake newsfilmJournalismMedia LiteracyMisinformationnews literacynews mediaSocial StudiesSRLstudent reporting labsstudentsyouth media
Lesson plan: Do midterm elections matter?
In this NewsHour lesson plan, students will gain an understanding of midterm elections and discuss reasons why voter turnout remains low. Continue readingCivicselectionElection 2018GovernmentGovernment & Civicslesson planMedia Literacymidterm electionsmidtermsoff-year electionsPoliticsSocial StudiesU.S. governmentU.S. historyvoter turnoutvoting
Lesson plan: Veterans Day and the meaning of sacrifice
Use this PBS NewsHour lesson plan to help students understand the significance of Veterans Day and the meaning of sacrifice. Students will identify important veterans in their lives, examine an interactive timeline of military history and study issues facing veterans today. Continue readingAmerican HistoryGeographyGovernment & Civicsmilitarymilitary serviceservicememberSocial StudiesU.S. historyU.S. militaryVeteran's DaywarWorld War II
Lesson plan: Thanksgiving through the lens of Native Americans today
Students will examine current issues facing the Wampanoag people, the ancestors of the Native American tribes who welcomed the Pilgrims, including the continued fight for their ancestral lands and the preservation of their native language. Continue readingA Thanksgiving HistorycolonialismcolonizationGovernment & CivicsholidaysIndian tribesNative AmericanspilgrimsPlymouthSocial IssuesSocial StudiesthanksgivingU.S. historyWampanoag
Using media literacy with students to discuss New York City terror attack
In this PBS lesson, teachers use media literacy with their students to discuss New York City’s deadliest terror attack since 9/11. Continue readingdomestic terrorismGovernment & Civicshome grown extremismISISIslamic statejihadismlesson planMedia LiteracyNew York CityradicalizationSocial Studiesterrorismviolent extremism