Using NewsHour Extra Feature Stories
Overview: NewsHour Extra features stories can help students identify and interpret key issues in current events. This activity anticipates one class period, but the follow-up essay might be assigned as homework, or in another period.
Warm Up: Use initiating questions to introduce the topic and find out how much your students know.
Main Activity: Have students read NewsHour Extra's feature story and answer the questions on the reading comprehension handout.
Discussion: Use discussion questions to encourage students to think about how the issues outlined in the story affect their lives and express and debate different opinions.
Follow-up: Students can write an 500-word editorial on the topic expressing their views and send it to NewsHour Extra [firstname.lastname@example.org] for possible publication.
Evaluation: Students are graded on their answers to reading comprehension questions and/or their editorial.
Republicans and Democrats Fight for Votes in 'Red' States, 8/16/04
1. Did your state vote Republican or Democrat in the 2000 presidential election?
Reading Comprehension Questions: (click here for printout)
1. What has made the 2004 presidential election different from past elections?
2. Name some red states.
3. What are characteristics of voters in "red" states?
4. Why is the South an important region for both candidates?
5. What strategy did some Democrats propose to help Kerry win some Republican votes?
6. Where has President Bush spent a majority of his time campaigning?
7. Has President Bush ignored the South during his campaign for reelection?
Discussion Activity (more research might be needed):
Why do you think political strategists are able to characterize voters by the
states they live in? Are people in particular states so much alike that they vote
for the same candidates? Why do you think this is? Or isn't?
Using the NewsHour's Vote 2004 coverage at http://www.pbs.org/newshour/vote2004/index.html,
read over some of the two leading candidates' views on particular issues? Why
might John Kerry's views be unpopular in "red" or Republican states?
Why might George Bush's stance on issues be unpopular in "blue" or Democratic
3. Take a random poll of some of the students in your school. If they were able to vote for either George Bush or John Kerry in the November election, who would they choose? Look at the results of your poll; are the students in your school mostly Democrats or Republicans? Now, using the NewsHour's Interactive Electoral Map at http://www.pbs.org/newshour/vote2004/politics101/politics101_ecmap.html, find out if your state is a "red" state, a "blue" state or a "swing" state. Do the answers in your poll reflect that?
Write a 300-500 word essay on either of these topics providing clear examples. Send your completed editorial to NewsHour Extra (email@example.com). Exceptional essays might be published on our Web site.