Lesson PlansBack to lesson plans archive November 14, 2017
Monitoring the midterms: 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 in Brooklyn, NY.
Tooltip of related stories
More Lesson Plans
Tooltip of more video block
Tooltip of RSS content 3
Lesson plan: Solar invention makes safety and production levels shine
Hit the lights, please! In this lesson, students will learn about emerging technologies that are bringing new light sources to remote, poor areas of the world. Students will then invent their own light source using the steps of the invention process and share it via social media using #PBSInvention. Continue reading#PBSInventionAgents for ChangeAlfredo Moserbottle lampbreakthroughsbusiness educationdeveloping worldDIYEconomicseconomyenergyentrepreneurgrassroots movementgreen energygreen technologyIllac Diazindustrial designInnovation & Inventioninventioninvention educationinvention processLemelsonlesson planlightLiter of Lightmanufacturingpatentrenewable energysmall businessessocial entrepreneurshipsolar energysolar powerSTEMThe Leading EdgeU.S. patent and trademark officeUSPTO
Lesson plan: Watergate and the limits of presidential power
August 8, 2018, marks the 44th anniversary of the resignation of President Richard Nixon. Use this resource to teach young people about this period in U.S. history. Continue readingDemocratic National CommitteeGerald FordGovernment & Civicslesson planOval OfficePoliticsPresidencyresignationRichard NixonSocial StudiesU.S. historyWatergateWhite House
Monitoring the midterms: Political parties continuing role in U.S. elections
What issues will inspire voters to turn out to vote in November? Check out NewsHour Extra’s “Monitoring the Midterms” classroom series ahead of the 2018 midterms. Continue reading#MonitoringTheMidterms2018 midterm elections2018 midtermsdemocracyDemocratsElection 2018Government & Civicslesson planMonitoring the Midtermspartisanshipparty identificationpolitical partiespolitical partyPolitics MondayRepublicansSocial StudiesUS historyVotersvoting
How Monticello’s exhibit on Sally Hemings deepens our understanding of U.S. history
Share the story of Sally Hemings with your students and Monticello’s latest efforts to set the historical record straight. Continue readingAmerican Historyenslaved peopleEthicslesson planMedia LiteracyMonticelloSally HemingsslaverySocial IssuesSocial StudiesThomas Jeffersonunited states historyUS historyvideo lesson
Choose your own news story: 2018 midterms OR best workspace layout
Choose your own news story! Pick the NewsHour Extra story that best suits your class. Use the discussion questions for further engagement. Continue reading#MonitoringTheMidterms2018 midterm electionsclassroomcurrent eventsGovernment & Civicshuman behaviorLearninglesson planMedia Literacymidterm electionsmidtermsMonitoring the Midtermsopen officeopen workspaceScienceSocial IssuesSocial StudiesSTEMworkplace