Matters of Education

Learning Happens Everywhere

Population and Electoral Power, 3-5

Length of Time:   30-45 MInutes


How America elects a president is a very complex process. The goal in this lesson is to show the absolute and relative electoral power of a single state (Massachusetts) over the course of the last 220 years through the use of a single bar graph. You may take your students as far in this process as their skills and interest levels allow. The lesson provides resources to research and create visual representations for all 50 states.

Essential Questions

What is the connection between a state’s population and its relative power in electing a president?

Common Core Standards

Mathematics: Measurement and Data: Represent and Interpret Data

3.MD.3-5. Solve one- and two-step “how many more” and “how many less” problems using information presented in scaled bar graphs.

English/Language Arts: Reading Informational Text: Integration of Knowledge and Ideas

RI.3-5.7. Interpret information presented visually, orally, or quantitatively (e.g., in charts, graphs, diagrams, time lines, animations, or interactive elements on Web pages) and explain how the information contributes to an understanding of the text in which it appears.

Content Standards

National Geography Standards

Standard 1: How to Use Maps and Other Geographic Representations, Tools, and Technologies to Acquire, Process, and Report Information From a Spatial Perspective

 Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks

Grade 3:

  • History and Geography: Time Periods
  • Civic and Government
  • Massachusetts History

Grade 4

History and Geography: Maps Skills; Interpret a Map

Grade 5

  • History and Geography
  • Civics and Government
  • The Principles and Institutions of American Constitutional Government
  • 5.24 Principles of American Democracy
  • 5.27 Participation of American citizens in government
  • The Growth of the Republic