Lesson PlansBack to lesson plans archive November 10, 2020
Lesson Plan: Should 16-year-olds be allowed to vote?
Should students have a say in how their lives are impacted by political representatives? How about at the local level, including school decision-making that affects student lives? This lesson looks at the roles and responsibilities of local school boards and encourages debate on whether sixteen year olds should be able to vote in these elections or other elections.
History, U.S. Government, Civics
Time needed: 50 minutes with extension ideas
- Students will be able to explain the roles of the school board and consider whether students should be eligible to vote for school board members.
- Students will be able to debate both sides of the debate as to whether sixteen years should vote on local issues.
- Warm up: Discussion question—What does a school board do?
- Main activity:
- Read this article about what school board members do and how those roles have been impacted by the pandemic and calls for social reform.
- Discussion question— Should students have a say in their local school boards? Why or why not?
- Watch PBS NewsHour video on the topic produced by NewsHour’s Student Reporting Labs (SRL).
- This next part can be done in small groups or individually, and focuses on the broader question of whether or not the voting age should be lowered.
- Have students finish the handout by having students pick the top three reasons for both sides and then write their own opinion.
- If time permits, students can share in small groups, as a class or have a class vote about whether or not students should vote in local elections, including school boards.
If ninety minutes are available, or if you want to make this a multiple day lesson:
- Set up a class debate. Students can have more time to research, write down their side, and argue in class.
- Assign an argumentative essay.
- Assign a research project: Have students research the debate about lowering the age from 21 to 18, ending in the 26th amendment.
Tim Lorenz is a high school social studies teacher in Aurora, CO. He teaches world religions, AP geography, geography, and government. He has a History Degree from Colorado State University and a Masters of Education from the University of Missouri.
PBS NewsHour education stories newsletter
Updates for EXTRA’s Super Civics 2020 election teaching resources doc
Tooltip of standarts
Relevant National Standards:
- CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.11-12.9: Integrate information from diverse sources, both primary and secondary, into a coherent understanding of an idea or event, noting discrepancies among sources.
- CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.11-12.1: Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources, connecting insights gained from specific details to an understanding of the text as a whole.
Common Core Standards
Tooltip of related stories
More Lesson Plans
Tooltip of more video block
Tooltip of RSS content 3
Daily News Lesson: What waiving vaccine patent rights might mean for big pharma
President Joe Biden has given the initial nod for the U.S. to waive patent rights on COVID vaccines to boost international production. Continue readingbig pharmacoronaviruscovid pandemiccovid-19daily news lessondisaster reliefGovernment & CivicsIndiainternational affairsinventionJoe Bidenlesson planpatentpharmaceutical companiesSocial StudiesU.S. patent and trademark officevaccine
Daily News Lesson: US plans to reunite more than 1,000 families separated at the border
Hear from the secretary of Homeland Security about why reuniting separated families is a Biden administration priority Continue readingBorder PatrolCentral American migrantsdaily news lessondepartment of homeland securityDonald TrumpEl SalvadorGovernment & CivicsGuatemalaHondurasICEimmigrationImmigrations and Customs EnforcementJoe BidenMexicorefugeeSocial Studies
Daily News Lesson: How legendary dancer Jacques d’Amboise brought dance to public school kids
Learn about the life of Jacques d’Amboise, ballet dancer who brought free dance education to public schools Continue readingArts & Culturearts educationballetCanvasdanceJacques d'AmboiseJeffrey BrownNational Dance InstitutePEphysical education
Daily News Lesson: Discuss India’s deepening COVID-19 crisis
Understand why India is experiencing its worst COVID crisis even as other countries begin to recover Continue readingcovid-19daily news lessondiplomacyforeign aidGovernment & Civicshumanitarian aidhumanitarian crisisIndiainternational affairsJoe BidenModiNarendra Modipublic healthState Departmentvaccines
Daily News Lesson: Student free speech makes it to the Supreme Court
Discuss whether public schools should be able to punish students for speech outside of the school Continue readingBill of Rightsdaily news lessonFirst Amendmentfree speechGovernment & Civicsminorsonline learningsocial mediastudentsSupreme CourtU.S. constitution