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Title Voting in 2008 Lesson Author Joe Wilder_ Mary O'Mara - Scholar


									Title: Voting in 2008
Lesson Author: Joe Wilder, Mary O’Mara, Kristen Callan
Key Words: Voters, Voting Booth, Political Spectrum, Republicans, Democrats,
Grade Level:12th Grade Government
Time Allotted: 45 minutes

                     Rationale/ Purpose (so what?)

To see how knowledge of elections and ideologies influences a presidential
election simulation. In addition to emphasizing the importance of being
well informed and educated voters in order to promote democracy.

Key Concept(s) include definition:
Voting: A formal expression of preference for a candidate for office or a
proposed resolution of an issue

Ideologies: A set of doctrines or beliefs that form the basis of a political,
economic, or other system.

Simulation: An imitation or representation, as of a potential situation

Participatory Democracy: Affording the opportunity for individual

Plank: One of the articles of a political platform.

                             NCSS Standard(s)
SOL Information (As written in the Virginia SOL “Curriculum Framework”
                              for the grade level)

NCSS Theme (s) with indicators:
Standard 6: Power, Authority, and Governance
   - Help learners identify and describe the basic features of the American
     political system, and identify representative leaders from various
     levels and branches of government.
   - Enable learners to examine the rights and responsibilities of the
     individual in relation to his or her family, social groups, community
     and nation.

SOL: 6.G,I
Standard Govt 6: The student will demonstrate knowledge of
local, state, and national elections by:
   g) Analyzing voter turnout
   i) Participating in simulations of local, state, and/or national elections

       Essential Knowledge                             Essential Skills
   (minimum for SOL Resource Guide)             (minimum for SOL Resource Guide)
6.G:                                          6.G:
Knowledge:                                       • Create and interpret
Influences on voter turnout                        diagrams, tables, charts, and
   • Campaign issues                               spreadsheet. (GOVT 1.B)
   • Candidates                                  • Analyze political cartoons,
   • Voter attitudes toward                        political advertisements,
      government                                   pictures, and other graphic
   • Voter loyalty to political parties            media. (GOVT 1.C)
   • Competitive and                             • Identify a problem, weigh the
      noncompetitive races                         expected costs and benefits
                                                   and possible consequences of
Education, age, and income are                     proposed solutions, and
important factors in predicting which              recommend solutions, using a
citizens will vote.                                decision-making model.
                                                   (GOVT 1.F)
More citizens vote in presidential
elections than in other national,
state, and local contests, but the
percentage of Americans voting in
presidential elections is has been on
the decline.

A voter’s belief that he/she has little
impact on the outcome of an election
tends to discourage voter turnout.

Voter apathy, dissatisfaction and the
failure to meet voting requirements
can contribute to the decline in

Student participation in the
democratic process ca include:
   • Participating in student
     elections and school

   • Volunteering in political
   • Registering and voting in a
     primary election (if the student
     turns 18 on or before the
     general election)
   • Participating in classroom and
     online simulations

Guiding Question(s):
  • What factors influence voter participation?
  • How can individuals participate in the democratic process?
  • What are some ways in which people can become informed voters?
  • Why is it important to be an informed voter who contributes to the
     processes of government?

Assessment Tool(s):
  • Voter Registration Card- 3, 2, 1 processor
  • Structured Academic Controversy Worksheets-
     participation/completion based assessment
  • Computer Voting Website- participation
  • What, So What, Now What Exit Slip- completion

   Background: How does this lesson fit into a unit of study?         Looking backwards,
                                      looking forwards
This is the final lesson in a unit of study about Voting, leading up to the November election.
Students have started with the history of voting, learning about the way different groups
fought for suffrage. They have learned about topics such as interest groups, how political
issues shape the election process, and the media. Today they will put their learning to use
and evaluate candidates, examine issues relevant to the presidential election and make an
informed vote via a classroom voting simulation.

Lesson Objective(s):

   1. Students will be able to critically read documents containing
      information on presidential candidates in order to identify key issues
      and candidate planks becoming informed, voting citizens.

   2. Students will demonstrate an understanding of the importance of
      voting in elections and what it means to be an informed voter.

Materials: Historical                     Additional
Source(s): (include copies in             Materials/Resources: (include
materials section)                        copies in materials section)

Material A: SAC McCain Fact Sheet         Material C: 3,2,1 Processor form (voter
Material B: SAC Obama Fact Sheet
                                          Material D: SAC Background Sheet

                                          Material E: SAC McCain Question Form

                                          Material F: SAC Obama Question Form

                                          Material G: SAC Group/Individual
                                          Response Form

                                          Material H: What? So What? What Now?
                                          Exit Slip


JUST DO IT! The “Hook”: (A high-interest activity that introduces new content with
connections to students’ prior knowledge. Between 1-5 minutes (Could also introduce
the days guiding question)

              3, 2, 1 Processor to identify students political ideologies they have
              developed throughout the unit and demonstrate knowledge of political
              issues and the selection of a presidential candidate based upon issues and
              ideologies learned. (students may use political spectrum from previous
              lesson to guide them in the decision making)

              Processing Activity and Procedure -              Check for Evidence of
              include directions, question frames,                 Understanding
 Obj #          assignment detail to be given to              -Either Formal or Informal-
  See          students (these should all be made            (Checks Essential Knowledge
 above.          into explicit materials (e.g. see                     and Skills)
                 material A), and time estimates

                                                          Formal- processors will be
Just do it.   3,2, 1 Processor - Material C (5 minutes)   collected and must meet rubric
            Brief explanation of later use of “Voter Registration Card”. Followed by
Transition: passing out of materials for Structured Academic Controversy while
            students begin reading posted instructions for SAC activity.
              Introduction to Structured Academic
                                                            Formal- students will turn in
              Controversy, examining of fact sheets and
                                                            SAC question sheets to be
              critically evaluating issues and candidates
                                                            checked for completion.
              in order to prepare for partnered, small
Objective     group and class discussion of the 2008
                                                          Informal- students will be
              election, candidates and issues from both
                                                          observed to ensure full
              a democrat and republican stand point.
                                                          participation in the paired,
              -Materials A, B, D, E, F and G (25-30
                                                          group and class discussion
            Students will be given the opportunity to review their 3, 2, 1 processors/
            voter registration cards in addition to information learned during the
            Structured Academic Controversy in order to prepare themselves to vote
            using the computer and polling website as an electronic voting simulation.
            Students will show identification (3, 2, 1    Formal- Students will
 Objective processor), wait in line and vote for a        demonstrate an understanding
            presidential candidate after making an        of the importance of voting in
            informed decision. –Material H (15            elections and what it means to

            minutes)                                        be an informed voter by
                                                            completing the What? So
                                                            What? What Now? Exit slip

Modifications/Accommodations for Diverse Learners:
Modifications/Accommodations will be made on an individual basis upon
request or as required by a student’s IEP or 504. Examples of
modifications may include exemptions from reading the SAC fact sheet
aloud to a partner, extra time to complete the 3, 2, 1 processor and
“What? So What? Now What?” Exit slip activity. Level of class participation
and discussion involvement may be adjusted for students requiring

Closure/Writing Prompt/Rubric:

                                               3, 2, 1 Processor
Student identifies 3 things they support       2 points for each support
Student identifies 2 things they do not        2 points for each they do not support
Total Points Available                         10 points

                                               Structured Academic Controversy Sheets
McCain Worksheet                               All sheets will be collected but not
Obama Worksheet                                evaluated for content but rather
Group/Individual Response Sheet                completion to promote student

                                               What? So What? What Now?
Voting                                         Exit slip will be collected and students will
What?                                          be given 10 points for completion.
So What?
What Now?

Materials (one resource per page- so it becomes a teacher or student handout, or
overhead directions or ppt presentation.)

3, 2, 1 Processor/ Voter Registration (Material C)

Students should fill out the processors as a getting started activity. Using their political
spectrums (from a previous lesson) or any information students have on political issues, students
should list three things they support, two things they do not support and choose one party or
person who they would most likely vote for in an election.

                                Voter Registration Card

Three things I support:




Two things I do not support:



My one vote is for: __________________________________

Structured Academic Controversy Instructions (SAC)
Instructions for Implementation:
-Go over directions in powerpoint with the students.
    - Time each portion of the activity in order to keep it fast paced.
    - Remind students that they are only to use the information listed on the fact sheets.
    - Hand out the background sheet and explain directions.
    - Group students in fours, hand out the first set of fact sheets and assign the pairs of two
        differing points of view. Have one student per pair read the fact sheet aloud while the
        other takes notes.
    - After reading the first fact sheet students should come together in their groups of four and
        present the key reasons/answer to the question on the background sheet to each other.
        Writing down questions in the question box to ask the presenting pair.
    - Have students break back into pairs and have them read the second fact sheet. The
        second fact sheet is simply a copy of the fact sheet that the other pair just presented on.
        This way students get to examine, learn and use information from both points of view.
        Follow all of the steps from the first fact sheet, presentation and group discussion.
    - Finally, have both pairs stay in the group of four and fill out the group and individual
        response worksheet.
            o The group portion may be difficult or impossible for them to come to a consensus
                so a time limit should be strictly enforced on this portion.
    - Ask both groups to share their consensus or lack there of with the class. Then asking for
        volunteers to share their individual responses if they would like.

Additional Instructions Attached-

Structured Academic Controversy Background: (Material D)
         After learning about the ways in which voting rights came about for all citizens, the
various characteristics of United States political parties and the importance of becoming an
informed voter, it is important to learn about specific candidates as representatives of political
         Every four years the United States holds presidential elections. Before an election
candidates are given the opportunity to voice their opinions, views and the various planks of their
party’s platform to the public. This year (2008) is an election year and the two major candidates
running for President include Barack Obama (Democrat) and John McCain (Republican). Each
candidate posts their views on their official websites and participate in a series of debates leading
up to the November election. It is important to know the issues and each candidate’s stance if
one is to consider oneself an educated and informed voter.
         The following information sheets contain information regarding key issues and each
candidate’s position concerning the issue. Using only the information on the sheets provided,
respond to this question:

Using the actual planks/ statem ents from the candidate’s platform
   and speeches, w hy is this particular candidate the m ost w ell
       suited to be the nex t president of the United States?


2008 Presidential Candidates | Campaign 2008: The Presidential Field | (n.d.). Retrieved Oct. 13, 2008, from

Obama vs. McCain. (n.d.). Retrieved Oct. 13, 2008, from http://www.obama-

SAC- Obama Fact Sheet (Material B)
Social Security:
    • Funding- Said he would consider increasing the share of wages that are subject to Social
        Security taxes. Tax increase for those earning over $102,000 per year.
    • Private Plans- Opposed to private accounts.
Social Issues:
    • Supports abortion rights and opposes restrictions; only supports restricting certain late-
        term abortions with an exception to protect the mother’s health.
    • Sex Education- Supports comprehensive sex education.
    • Gay Rights- Supports civil unions. Personally opposed to gay marriage; would leave it
        up to states to decide to license them but wants states to recognize each others’ unions.
    • Gun Rights- Supports gun laws including background checks and enhanced record-
        keeping so guns can be traced back to unscrupulous dealers.
    • K-12- wants incentives for school districts to attract and keep good teachers and would
        give merit pay to the best of them. Cost:$8billion. Would overhaul NCLB program to
        better measure school progress before punishments are involved.
    • Higher Education- proposes a tuition tax credit of up to $4,000 for students who agree to
        give 100 hours of community service. Credit begins phasing out at household incomes
        over $135,000. Cost $10 billion/year.
    • Exit- would begin withdrawing immediately, extracting one to two brigades per month
        until all combat forces are home in summer 2010.
    • Maintaining Stability- retain a “residual force” to protect the U.S. Embassy and strike al
        Qaeda bases.
    • Long-term Plans- promises more diplomacy including talks with Iran and Syria and $2
        billion to aid refugees.
Health Care:
    • Governement sets up a marketplace for health insurance plans, where families can choose
        among private plans or a new government run option like Medicare.
    • Subsidies defray insurcance costs for lower income households and help pay to insure the
        most expensive patients.
    • Parents required to insure children; large employers are required to offer insurance or pay
        into a fund.
    • Carbon Emissions Goal- 80% reduction by 2050.
    • Supports subsidies for solar and wind energy; wants more nuclear power only after
        storage and safety issues are resolved.
    • Gas Tax Suspension- opposes suspending the 18.4% federal tax for this summer calling it
        a political gimmick.
    • Supports clean coal, using more renewable energies, phasing out incandescent light bulbs
        by 2014 and requiring new vehicles to be able to run on biofuel.

(Material F) Using the actual planks/statements from the candidate’s platform and speeches, why
is this candidate the most well suited to be the next president of the United States?
   Obama: Identify key points to support your argument- be ready to present.

   Questions: Listen to the opposing POV and develop questions to be asked.

SAC- McCain Fact Sheet (Material A)
Social Security:
    • Funding- opposes raising taxes to shore up the program, but he’s open to trimming
        benefits to balance books.
    • Private Plans- favors allowing people to divert a portion of their Social Security taxes
        into private accounts.
Social Issues:
    • Abortion- opposes abortion rights.
    • Sex Education- supports abstinence-only sex education.
    • Gay Rights- opposes same sex marriage and civil unions. Supports state’s rights to either
        legalize them or ban them, but wouldn’t force other states to recognize them.
    • Gun Rights- opposes many restrictions on gun ownership, including a federal ban on
        assault weapons, but supports mandatory background checks on people buying guns at
        gun shows.
    • K-12- in favor of allowing families to pull their tax dollars from public schools and use
        the money as tuition at charter or private schools.
    • Higher Education- Has no student-aid plans. Supports more federal funding for
        university research in targeted areas like energy, and funding to train more students in
        math and science.
    • Exit- envisions this exit by January 2013.
    • Maintaining Stability- continued presence of U.S. troops will help Iraqis take over their
    • Long-term Plans- Says U.S. troops could remain for 100 years or longer as long as the
        nation is stable and peaceful.
    • Opposes universal health care.
    • Supports importing prescription drugs to lower costs.
    • Would offer a refundable $2,500 tax credit and $5,000 for families
    • Would open health care markets by allowing providers to practice nationwide, rather than
        restricting them regionally, allowing the purchase of health insurance across state lines.
    • Subsidies help lower-income patients with pre-existing medical conditions obtain
    • Carbon Emissions Goal- 60% reduction by 2050.
    • Alternatives to Oil- strongly supports incentives for nuclear power.
    • Gas Tax Suspension- supports the one-time suspension, calling it a “little-break” for
    • Supports off-shore drilling as a way to address the rising price of oil and gas.

(Material E) Using the actual planks/statements from the candidate’s platform and speeches, why
is this candidate the most well suited to be the next president of the United States?

   McCain: Identify key points to support your argument- be ready to present.

   Questions: Listen to the opposing POV and develop questions to be asked.

(Material G) Using the actual planks/statements from the candidate’s platform and speeches,
why is this candidate the most well suited to be the next president of the United States?

Group Response: Consensus/Areas of Disagreement. (Conclude with 1 final candidate
voted as most well suited for president, by the group as a whole)

Individual Response:

Voting Booth Activity:
Set up a voting booth in a corner of the classroom so that he screen can not be seen by other

Have the students bring their “Voter Registration Card”/ 3,2,1 Processor with them and get in
line to wait for their opportunity to vote. At this time students should turn in the processor
assignment and get an exit slip in return to complete after voting.

Each student will take turns casting a vote.

Methods for voting may vary but the method used for this lesson involved a creating and account
and poll via in which students can click candidate options and have
the website automatically tally the vote percentages.

Ideally, the votes would be tallied and compared to the current election poll results or the
actually outcome of a presidential election and used as a getting started activity for the following

Link to this class poll:

“What?, So What?, What Now?” Exit Slip (Material H)
After voting and completing all exercises for the day have students complete each field of the
form below as it applies to the structured academic controversy and the voting experience.
Students must submit this form before leaving class for the day.

                      Election 2008-What? So What? Now What?

What feelings did you experience during this exercise?

What did you learn and how does it relate to the real world?

How can the learning from this event be applied in the future?


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