The PBS LearningMedia Election 2012 Collection is an aggregation of curated and contextualized election-related resources for K-12 classrooms with a primary focus on middle and high school. Available resources include both current events for the 2012 Presidential Election and in-depth learning opportunities that can be used in any study of the U.S. government and election processes. Many of the video clips and lesson plans include additional supporting resources such as discussion questions and transcripts.
Multimedia Lesson Plans
Resources from POV (Grades 6-13+)
Election Day: Improving Elections in the United States: Take a closer look at the experiences of people across America on Election Day. Explore how the voting process varies from place to place and discuss citizens' voting rights.
Campaign: Political Campaigns in Japan: Take a look at political campaigning in Japan. Through the experience of one man running for a critical seat on a suburban city council, your students will identify Japanese campaign restrictions and their consequences. Discuss how these practices affect the strength of Japan's democracy.
Resource from NOW (Grades 9-12)
Power to the People: Jackie Thrasher: Meet the music teacher who ran for office and joined the new "clean elections" movement in response to inequity in her own Arizona school system.
Resources from Need to Know (Grades 9-12)
Ballot boxing: The problem with electronic voting machines: Despite efforts to make voting fair and transparent, some claim that electronic voting machines are vulnerable to both software glitches and hackers, and provide no paper trail for ballots. Take a closer look at the controversy.
Drawing the lines: Parties fight for redistricting power: Use the high-stakes 2010 Ohio midterm election as a representative case of how population shifts can reverberate all the way to Washington D.C. Consider the impact of the then new Supreme Court Citizens United decision on campaign funding.
Resources from WGBH Educational Foundation (Grades 6-12)
Voting Rights: The Reverend Mr. Vivian and Ms. Zecosy Williams reflect on the voting rights struggle in Alabama and the Reverend's own experience of violence at a 1965 voting rights demonstration in Selma.
Voter Registration Training Tool: Experience firsthand the complex tests sometimes used to illegally curtail political access. See how civil rights activists prepare potential voters to navigate these unfair practices.
Resource from the National Science Foundation (Grades 3-13+)
The President's Photographer: Focus on the unique and important role of the White House photographer. Explore how these visual historians have documented some of the most critical moments in our country's history.
Resources from the.News (Grades 6-12)
Dollars & Votes: 2012 Election: How does the 2010 Supreme Court ruling on Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission impact campaign financing? Consider the rapid increase in Super PACs, as well as key campaign finance reform events in U.S. history.
The Electoral College: Understand how the Electoral College works in determining the presidential outcome, as well as how it's different from the popular vote. Look at how swing states were targeted in the 2008 presidential election.
The Ground Game: Investigate the inner workings of a political campaign. Examine how campaigns use polling data to reveal what appeals to voters. Analyze the persuasive techniques and language used in grassroots political campaigning.
Debates & the Race for the White House: Analyze past presidential debates to learn how they impact the election process. Highlight issues that will be important in upcoming debates.
Conventions: Focus on what role national party conventions play on the road to the election. Learn how the conventions have impacted presidential campaigns and election outcomes.
Resources from The NewsHour (Grades 9-12)
A Race to Watch: Campaign 2012, The Role of Technology and the Internet: Recognize the role of the Internet as a political campaign tool. Investigate how different presidential candidates use technology in their campaigns.
Analyzing the Candidates in the 2012 Presidential Election: Create profiles of the candidates in the 2012 presidential election. What does it take to make it to the White House?
Rich vs. Poor: How Wealth is Impacting the 2012 Elections: Use socioeconomic data to help your students draw conclusions about how class and wealth affect the election process and outcomes.
Primaries and Caucuses: How Do the Parties Choose a Candidate?: Examine how political parties determine their presidential candidates through primaries and caucuses. Define key terms and issues related to the primary season.
Examining the Presidential Campaign Map: Battleground Virginia: Explore the role of battleground states in the 2012 presidential campaigns and see how candidates maneuver in states that are key to winning the election.
Obama Looks to Grassroots Base, Battlegrounds With 2012 Bid: Take a close-up look at the methods Obama employed as he began his campaign for a second term. Learn the importance of grassroots strategies and other factors that influence a presidential campaign.
Who's Spending More: Candidates or Super PACS?: Illuminate the contribution Super PACs make toward financing presidential campaigns. Take a close up look at the impact on the 2012 Republican primaries.
Eight States That Will Shape 2012 Election:What's the importance of swing states in the presidential race? Look at the significance of eight of those states in the 2012 election.
Resource from Frontline (Grades 9-13+)
Obama's Deal: The Deal Making Begins:Take a sobering look at the Obama administration’s first historic push to reform health care. Reveal the realities of American politics, the power of special interest groups, and the role of money in policy making.
Resource from WNET (Grades 6-12)
Public Speaking and Persuasion - Improve Your School!: Watch two short videos about the first school government election held in Wuhan Province, China. Bring the discussion home by having students practice oral presentations to persuade their fellow classmates on how they would like to improve their own school.
Resources from PBS Education (Grades 3-12)
Creating Your Ideal Presidential Candidate: Identify the attributes of a good leader and president. Invite students to imaginatively create their own ideal candidate. Students will campaign by explaining their candidate’s stance on key issues before votes are cast.
Who Do You Think Should Be President?: Research the Presidential candidates and their views on key issues. Students will decide which candidate they support. Students will then campaign within the class.
Voting Rights Act Lesson Plan: Debate whether today’s voter ID requirements violate the civil rights protections of the Voting Rights Act. Learn about the 15th Amendment and see why it was not enforced until the 1965 Voting Rights Act was passed.
Duties of the President: Interpret the role of the President today through the lens of Article II of the U.S. Constitution. Use scholarly insights as jumping-off points for class discussions around the oath of office and what it means.
Presidential Issues: Where do the Candidates Stand?: Use the Presidential debates to determine the position of each candidate. Identify and analyze the key issues for the 2012 election. Explore the rhetoric used to describe these issues.
Understanding the Electoral College: Investigate the role of the Electoral College. Use primary sources and identify current swing and battleground states to assess the candidates’ progress and to project how many electors each may win.
Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission: Examine how the First Amendment is applied to political speech for corporations and labor unions. Students will become familiar with the First Amendment, identify the facts of Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission, and judge if the Bipartisan Reform Act infringes on Citizen United’s right to free speech.
Super PACs and Campaigning: Use this lesson to look closely at how Super PACs have affected the campaign process. Students will consider the role of money in U.S. elections, examine the way campaigns work, and participate in a mock election.