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Students learn how holding a political office effects change


Social Studies  


9, 10, 11, 12  

Title – Do Something about… Voting/Civic Engagement
Lesson 4 – How have people used elected offices to make changes?
By – Do Something, Inc. 
Primary Subject – Social Studies
Secondary Subjects – 
Grade Level – 9-12

Do Something about…
Teen Voting/Civic Engagement


The following lesson is the fourth lesson of a 10-lesson
Teen Voting/Civic Engagement Unit from Do Something, Inc.
Other lessons in this unit are as follows:

Lesson 1: What is Civic Action?
Students learn about why people get involved in their communities.
Lesson 2: Why Is Democracy So Demanding?
Students will discuss the role of citizens in a democracy.
Lesson 3: Representin’
Students learn about the system of representation in a democracy.
Lesson 4: How have people used elected offices to make changes? (See lesson below)
Students learn how holding a political office effects change.
Lesson 5: Social Capital
Students learn about social capital and how to use networking for civic action.
Lesson 6: Politics, A Laughing Matter
Students learn how cartoons and satire raise concerns about an issue.
Lesson 7: How do organizers bring about change?
Students earn about the strategies of unionizing and boycotting.
Lesson 8: Why do I have to do jury duty?
Students learn how jury duty is a type of civic engagement.
Lesson 9: How can I use writing to lead others to action?
Students learn how the written word is a method of civic action.
Lesson 10: How can speaking engage others in my cause?
Students learn how speeches can gather support for community change.

More student teen voting resources can be found at:

For more Service-Learning Curricula check out:

Lesson 4: How have people used elected offices to make changes?


Students will learn about how holding a political office is a way to effect change.




Civics Standard 20:

  • Understands the roles of political parties, campaigns, elections, and associations and groups in American politics

Reading Standard 7:

  • Uses reading skills and strategies to understand and interpret a variety of informational texts

Writing Standard 4:

  • Uses a variety of print and electronic sources to gather information for research topics



    1. Warm-up: Have students discuss the qualities of an effective leader.
    2. Tell students that one way to effect change in their community is by running for public office. Explain to students that there are many different type of elected political positions on both the city, state and federal level.
    3. Discover: Have students read and discuss a few of the articles about young people who have been appointed to a government office. Why did this young person run for office? What challenges did they overcome? How did his/her youth affect their perspective?

Students can read research about the politics of young elected officials 

18 year old elected to General Assembly

  1. Have students attend a school board or town hall meeting and take notes on what issues are being discussed. How do these issues affect the students? Could they see themselves becoming a leader? What talents could they use to lead others? Students can investigate how to become a member of their school board. Are there student representatives? If not, is this something that the class can work on to change?
  2. Take Action: In their Civic Action Group , students should think about which elected position would have the most power to create the changes they want in regard to their issue. Have students pretend that they are going to run for an elected position in their state. As a group, they should identify:

    What elected position can bring about the most change regarding your issue?

    Why do you think this is the most effective position to address their groups’ concerns?

    How does a person get elected to that position?

    Once in that position, how does that person go about effecting change?

    Identify individuals who have used this position to create changes in policy

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