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
Welcome to PBS NewsHour Classroom!
For PBS NewsHour EXTRA users, we’ll be releasing all new content on our…
Daily News Lesson: Congress considers funding for student mental health and more
Hear from the secretary of education and discuss what can be done in your school to address student mental health Continue readingAmna Nawazcoronaviruscovid-19educationHealthlesson planmaskingmental healthMiguel Cardonaonline learningpublic healthsecretary of educationSELsocial emotional learningstudent healthvaccine
Remembering the life and legacy of Colin Powell
Learn about the legacy of a man who served in the U.S. military and civilian government during crucial historic moments Continue readingColin PowellGovernment & Civicsinternational affairsIraq Warlesson planobituarySeptember 11Social StudiesState DepartmentU.S. historyU.S. militaryU.S. politicsweapons of mass destructionWMDsWorld
Questlove documentary spotlights 1969 Harlem concert series featuring music greats
Find out why one contemporary musician pushed to make a movie out of lost concert footage from decades ago Continue readingArts & Culturearts educationCanvasdocumentarieship hophistorylesson planMusicmusic educationNew York CityU.S. history
Daily News Lesson: How fires, dry conditions are drastically increasing air pollution across California
Hear from one local reporter about why air has never been as polluted in central California as it is right now Continue readingcaliforniaCalifornia wildfiresclimate changeenvironmentGovernment & Civicslesson plansan joaquin valleyScienceSTEMwildfireswildlife