Lesson Plans

The Campaign Trail

The Democracy Project: All Aboard the Campaign Train!

Brainstorm ways to raise support for members of a political party and their platform and create slogans, songs and speeches. Map campaign stops on a “whistle stop” tour, estimate arrival and departure times and distance between stops, and then validate the estimations.

Political Cartoons

Big Apple History: Smart Art

Examine and practice the art of political cartoon-making by focusing on how and why cartoons are so effective in making a political point. Students explore the role of political cartoons in New York City in the 1870s and today.

Political Parties

The Democracy Project: Donkeys, Elephants, and Voters Oh My!

Learn about politics from “grassroots” to a national convention through the creation of a new political party and the development of the convention’s national platform.

The President/Congress

Arthur: If I Were President

Make a class book about what your students’ priorities and actions would be if they were president.

The Democracy Project: Budget Making

Introduce students to budgets, expenses and savings; learn about government services and basic expenses; and create pie charts representing government spending priorities.

The Democracy Project: Dear Presidential Diary

Develop five first-person diary entries exploring a typical day in the life of the President as well as the duties and privileges of the presidency.

The Democracy Project: Graphically Speaking

Explore the relationship between congressional representation and state population by graphing current statistics and taking a historical look at the Constitution.

The Democracy Project: Painting Presidential Portraits

Research historical information about U.S. presidents, redesign U.S. paper currency to recognize six U.S. presidents and describe their significant accomplishments, and take a poll to see which past president is most popular.

The Democracy Project: The Perfect President

Identify the legal requirements, previous experiences, and personality traits that equip someone to be a successful president. Write a job description and newspaper article to advertise the job. Evaluate how selected past presidents measure up to the criteria generated by students.


The Democracy Project: To Vote or Not to Vote

Examine the history of voting rights in America, explore the current-day problem of low voter turnout, and create community surveys to pinpoint causes of low voter turnout and propose solutions to increase vote participation.

The Democracy Project: Why Vote?

Learn about the important public services that government provides, and by extension, the importance of voting in local, state and federal elections. Create a public awareness campaign to encourage adults in your community to vote.

American Experience: Wayback: Presidents: The Secret History

Hit a fictitious campaign trail to check out historic and unusual campaign memorabilia from American presidential campaigns, and explore a dossier of little-known "presidential secrets."

The Democracy Project: President for a Day

Explore the job requirements for the U.S. Presidency, identify the different people the President might meet with in an average day and experience the President's typical agenda with this online interactive activity.

The Democracy Project: Inside the Voting Booth

Consider why it is important to vote, examine times in U.S. election history when one vote made a difference in an election's outcome, learn several historical facts about voting and vote in a mock issues survey.

News Flash Five

Get weekly updates on election-related stories in both audio and text formats from this Web-exclusive news site for kids.