Visit Your Local PBS Station PBS Home PBS Home Programs A-Z TV Schedules Watch Video Donate Shop PBS Search PBS
NOW on PBS
Civics & Politics The Environment Health Economics Social Issues Full Archive
NOW on Demand
Act NOW
NOW Classroom

Election 2008 Lesson Activities

Because the American public is so inundated with news, commentary, and spin regarding the 2008 Presidential race, it's vitally important to help students understand the truth and core values behind American political campaigns and elections. Use the lessons and activities below to inspire understanding, critical thinking, and opinionated expression in your classroom and beyond.



Lesson Activity 1: Reviewing the Election Process

In this lesson, students will:

1. Create a flowchart illustrating the U.S. election process.
2. Discuss major themes related to each step on the election process flow chart.

» view this lesson activity



Lesson Activity 2: What Do You Know?

In this lesson, students will:

1. Participate in class brainstorming and discussion about their current knowledge of the presidential candidates and election issues based on mainstream media coverage of these topics.
2. Examine and learn about unreported and under reported topics that NOW identifies as "Burning Questions" not reported by mainstream media and the role these topics play in the upcoming election
3. Work in small groups to brainstorm answers to NOW's "Burning Questions" based upon their own prior knowledge and assumptions.
4. Work in small groups to utilize NOW website content to learn the facts associated with the "Burning Questions".
5. Participate in a group discussion about the difference between presumed knowledge and fact-based answers to questions and how knowledge of little reported topics could affect the upcoming election.

» view this lesson activity



Lesson Activity 3: What is the Media Missing?

In this lesson, students will:

1. View a list of unreported and under reported election topics and discuss reasons why these topics are not being addressed by mainstream media sources.
2. Conduct in-depth research about one of the unreported or under reported topics presented using a fact-based resources.
3. Create research-based scripts for role-plays based upon unreported and underreported topics that voters should understand.
4. Present role-plays as a means of increasing public awareness about unreported and underreported election topics.
5. Discuss out loud and/or in writing three specific things they have learned about the political candidates, system and issues and how this new knowledge affects them as potential and future voters.

» view this lesson activity



Lesson Activity 4: "Toon" in to Election '08

In this lesson, students will:

1. Participate in a class discussion about the role of political cartoons as a means of swaying public opinion.
2. Complete a political cartoon analysis activity.
3. Discuss various political cartoon captions and select an entry for an online political cartoon caption contest.
4. Discuss out loud and/or in writing the effects of political cartoons on the candidates, election results and on students as potential voters.

» view this lesson activity


About  |  Contact Us  |  Pledge
© 2010 JumpStart Productions. All rights reserved.
Privacy Policy