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Polling And Politics
Grade Levels: First through Fourth
Materials: Photos of candidates
Length: 2 days; poll one day, tally results the second day.
Using pictures of the candidates and their names, create a large sheet for polling the class. As a demonstration lesson to show or reinforce tallying skills, poll the students on their choices for president. After polling the entire class, discuss what information can be learned from the poll. Instruct the class to make a bar graph representing the findings. Divide the class into small campaign teams and have each team create its own polling sheet. Have the teams poll other students in the school (Pre-arrange this with other classroom teachers). After completing their polls, have the teams make a bar graph representing their findings. Each team can share its poll, graph, and findings with the rest of the class. Adaptations and other peer activities:
- Have each team poll a specific group (for example: boys, girls, teachers, first
graders, fifth graders). Compare the poll findings of the different groups.
- Assign the students to do a similar poll at home.
- Have each team track the polls of their candidates on television or in
newspapers. Just before the primaries, conduct a poll in class to determine
if the class represents the country.
- Hold a school-wide poll of each class participating and post the winner.
- For hearing-impaired students, allow increased reliance on newspapers and magazines for information (and less on television).
- For vision-impaired students, increase the use of television as well as radio for students’ information.
- If time permits, set up the classroom like a polling center and have students vote in polling booths to make the activity more realistic.
Students will learn the basics of the popular vote and what determines who gets elected. Hopefully this activity will also get students to want to vote. They will also get experience with using bar graphs.
Assessment will consist of judging how accurate their bar graph is, they can be tested over how the popular vote works, or they could write a paper to submit with their graphs to describe their findings.
“Primaries and Caucuses Classroom Activities.” C-SPAN Network . http://www.c-span.org/classroo/primary.htm (15, Sept. 1996).