The United States presidential election occurs every four years on the first Tuesday after the first Monday of November. The election process is more complex than it seems at face value, and unfortunately, students are often unaware of how it works, even though at age 18 they will be responsible for voting. By teaching students about the election, educators can give them the tools to form their own opinions and make informed decisions regarding politics in the future!
There are many resources available online for teaching about the election process. As it can be a touchy subject for certain people, many educators shy away from mentioning politics, but the resources below can help them teach about elections in a nuanced way.
- Academy 4SC: Find videos related to the election process at Academy 4SC, like Presidential Conventions and Delegates: Choose Your Fighter, How Primaries Work vs Caucuses: Two Meetings of the Minds, and Electoral College: The Race for 270, among others. Teachers have access to resources like worksheets, activity ideas, discussion questions, and more included in each topic’s lesson plan. Explore Academy 4SC’s full library of applicable content under the tag Election.
- Teaching About Elections: The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) provides an abundance of resources. These use a social justice approach to analyze gender bias in presidential elections, understanding why identity and demographics are necessary factors in polling results, and more. For educators looking for election-related content that touches upon a variety of issues, this resource may come in handy!
- Elections – Lessons, Activities, and Other Resources for Election Season: The National Education Association (NEA) has put together a lengthy list of resources to guide educators on elections, particularly presidential elections. Note that as this page was last updated ahead of the 2016 election and its aftermath, the most relevant materials for educators today are the lesson plans and background resources on the election and political parties.
- Elections: With their page on elections, Scholastic emphasizes the importance of democracy with unit plans, blog posts, articles, etc., which fall into two different categories: History of Elections in the United States and Voting for the President. For educators who are looking to teach about elections creatively, they may find some innovative ideas for integrating this topic into their curriculum.
- The Election Collection: PBS Learning Media splits up their resources into several different categories, including elections and presidential campaigns, the party system, voting rights, how voting works, media literacy, and more. All the resources presented can help students learn more about the presidential election process and voting as a whole.
There are many national news outlets that report current news on the presidential election and election-related issues on a daily basis. The websites below can provide important information regarding the upcoming presidential election:
- Voting and Elections: USAGov provides valuable information on voting and elections. Students will have access to common voting and election terms along with information on various congressional, state, and local elections. This resource may serve best as a classroom webquest or standard printout of information, depending on how educators want their students to learn.
- Presidential Election, 2020: Ballotpedia offers an overview of the presidential election with information on the presidential candidates, vice presidential candidates, the 2020 National Conventions, presidential debates, candidates on the issues, and more.
Teaching students about elections is a very important job, and as long as you stay neutral in your opinion and stick to the facts, students can benefit greatly from the lesson. In order for them to make informed political decisions, it is necessary for educators to give them the opportunity to learn how the election process works, and the resources above can help students do just that!
- U.S. Elections: TeacherVision has put together an extensive list of resources (printables, lesson plans, references, quizzes, etc.) related to U.S. elections and political figures.
- 11 Activities That Teach the Presidential Election Process: WeAreTeachers provides educators with eleven activities that teach the presidential election process, including celebrating past presidents, debating a school issue, holding a mock election, teaching voting rights with creative poster designs, etc. For educators who are looking to teach about elections without following a standard lesson plan, these ideas may come in handy!