This activity is something that I do with all of my classes regardless of whether its US History I, US History II, Economics, or Sociology. I love this activity and the students do as well, it is a great opportunity for them to sink their teeth into politics a little bit and it oftentimes has the side effect of having my students pay more attention to politics. It is a great lesson to use when you have to do something mandated for Constitution Day, as it covers the political process. This lesson is designed to have students identify their own personal political feelings WITHOUT labels, meaning they don’t find out until the end if they are Democrats or Republicans.
I explain to the students at the beginning of the activity that the opinions below are a compilation of party platforms from both the Republican and Democrat sides, and that some of these stances do not represent the entire party or all of their candidates. It is important for them to understand that within each issue there are numerous degrees and variations, especially on things like immigration reform. So I typically chose polar opposites for the activity to make it easier for the students to choose.
I have gotten tremendous feedback from my department chair and other teachers in the district who have all used this around election time as a way to get their students engaged in the political process. Each time I do this activity I have a handful of students hanging out after the bell claiming they are “definitely not Republican”, or “there’s no way I am a Democrat” and explaining how they would handle certain issues. This lesson is a fantastic conversation starter, and I have done it in both 42 and 60-minute classes. The 60-minute block is preferable for this activity but it works well in both.
Keywords: "democrat" "republican" "politics" "political parties" "politics activity" "choosing political parties" "student centered politics" "student centered political activity" "learning politics" "policy issues" "knowing your political party" "elections" "voting" "voters" "government" "political process"
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