**UPDATED 6/2020 This resource has been updated to reflect the 2020 presidential candidates. If you have previously purchased this resource, please download the most recent version at no charge, which you can find under My Purchases.**
It’s never too early to educate and prepare a new generation of voters! Connect your upper elementary and middle school students to key concepts and processes related to the United States government, voting, and presidential elections with this comprehensive unit that includes 21 engaging, ready-to-use, content-rich activities.
Combining US history, government, and civics, this unit is designed to help students understand how the United States’ government works; the history, process, and importance of voting in US; and how voters can prepare to fulfill their roles and responsibilities as participants in government. In addition, the unit focuses on the US presidential election, including understanding the responsibilities of the president, the process of electing a president, and a comparison of candidates.
★ DEPTH & VARIETY
The activities in this resource invite students to not only learn about concepts but to think more deeply and personally about them as they prepare to one day become participants and decision-makers in their own government. Among the activities in this unit are content-rich & age-appropriate reading passages; customized graphic organizers for activities; foldables that connect students to content in a hands-on way; a group jigsaw reading activity that allows students to become the subject experts; a close reading activity that practices the skills of informational & content-area reading; thoughtful task cards; Venn diagrams; interesting content-area writing tasks; short research assignments, including several personally relevant to students; as well as a student-conducted survey & graphing project. With a number of learning styles represented, you will be able to engage students in the content in different ways. In addition, with activities designed for individuals, partners, small groups, and the whole class, you have options for how to facilitate learning.
★ STANDARDS ALIGNMENT
This resource is aligned to Common Core 4-8 Reading and Writing standards, 6-8 History/Social Studies standards, and National Standards for Civics and Government.
★ EASY-TO-USE & READY-TO-USE
With more than 100 pages, this resource is organized into three mini-units, each with a detailed table of contents with descriptions of each activity so that you can find what you need easily. Pages are also numbered by mini-unit topic. In addition, detailed suggested uses, supply lists, and answer keys/rubrics (if applicable) for activities are included. Just print and use!
Offering flexibility and value, this resource includes 3 mini-units, which can be used together or separately to introduce and/or reinforce content depending on your students’ needs.
This resource includes the following activities:
Use these activities to familiarize students with the terminology, structure, and purpose of the US government according to the United States Constitution. In addition, students will learn about the histories of political parties in the US as well as the parties' current platforms.
lists with and without definitions
What Type of the Government Does the United States Have?
reading passage and graphic organizer covering concepts related to US government
The U.S. Constitution and the Branches of Government
fill-in notes introducing the legislative, executive, and judicial branches of government and the articles of the US Constitution & the powers assigned within each
Government in Your Community, State, and Country
short personal research activity that includes a graphic organizer
Branches of Government: What Do They Do? Foldable
sorting foldable related to roles & responsibilities of each branch of government
reading passage & Venn Diagram activity covering the concepts of federalism and shared powers between the states and the federal government
Political Parties in the US
close reading activity covering the histories of the Democratic, Republican, and third parties in the United States
Comparing Political Parties
short research activity comparing modern-day stances of Democratic and Republican parties on three issues
My Political Party
activity in which students create their own political party complete with platform & mascot
The activities in this mini-unit acquaint students with the history of voting in the US as well as the rights & responsibilities of those who vote today. Short reading passages and connection questions/tasks guide students through the current process of voting. Students can also conduct a voter survey of friends, family, and teachers, then analyze and graph the results.
lists with and without definitions
History of Voting in the US Jigsaw Reading Activity
cooperative group reading activity covering the history of voting rights in the US, includes a different reading passage for each student in group, key questions for students about their passages, graphic organizers, and a quiz with answer key
History of Voting in the US 5-Tab Book Foldable
foldable displaying important dates and events in US voting history using information from the jigsaw reading activity
Rights and Responsibilities of Citizens
activity connecting students to current issues
Being an Informed Voter
activity to discern and evaluate of sources of information in preparation for voting
The Voting Process: What Do You Know?
anticipation activity drawing on students’ prior knowledge about the voting process
Voting Process Task Cards
short reading passages describing each step of the voting process (Meeting Voter Requirements, Registering to Vote, Understanding Precincts, Preparing to Vote, Casting Votes, Participating in an Exit Poll) accompanied by connection questions/tasks related to each passage
Voter Survey Project
survey and graphing project in which students collect and analyze data about the voting behavior of family, friends, and teachers then display it graphically
They may not be able to vote yet, but it's a presidential election year so encourage students to get involved and interested in what’s happening in 2020 with these activities. From writing activities about the job of the president itself to a study of the process of electing a president to an introduction to the major party candidates in 2020, Donald Trump and Joe Biden, these activities will help students will develop an understanding of and a connection to what’s happening around them.
lists with and without definitions
Help Wanted: President of the United States Writing Activities
two writing options--a cover letter and a help wanted poster--in which students demonstrate their understanding of president’s job and the skills, education, and personal characteristics necessary to do the job well
Pathway to the Presidency Election Process Task Cards
reading passages describing each step of the presidential election process (Announcing the Candidates, Campaigning, Holding Primaries & Caucuses, Nominating at the National Convention, Debating, Electing the Next President, Counting the Electoral Votes, and Inaugurating the President) accompanied by connection questions/tasks related to each passage
Pathway to the Presidency Project Board Foldable
foldable that displays a description & illustration of each step of the presidential election process
Meet the Candidates Forward-Backward Book
short research activity culminating in booklet with facts about each major party presidential candidate in the 2020 election (Donald Trump and Joe Biden)
Illustrated Vocabulary template
activity option for use with each mini-unit's vocabulary list
“I Voted” and “I’m a Voting Expert” sticker templates
a fun way to celebrate the completion of the unit
Your questions are welcome, and your feedback is appreciated!