Matters of Education

Learning Happens Everywhere

Understanding the Electoral College, Gr 3-5

Length of Time:   60-90 Minutes


In this lesson, students will start with their own lives and consider the way they make choices and use this understanding to learn how the country makes its choices when electing a president. America elects its president in a complicated way. Some parts make sense while others are quite confusing. But there is a strict set of rules to follow.  One can question the wisdom of this 18th century system that dictates to voters in the 21st century. The framers considered voting a privilege and an obligation and ensured that the people would have to work hard for this opportunity to participate in a republican form of government.


Essential Questions

What is the Electoral College and how does it help the United States elect its president?

Common Core Standards

English Language Arts: Reading: Informational Text: Integration of Knowledge and Ideas, 3-5

RI.3-5.7. Use information gained from illustrations (e.g., maps, photographs) and the words in a text to demonstrate understanding of the text (e.g., where, when, why, and how key events occur).

Mathematics: Mathematics Practices: Grades K-5

  1. Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them.
  2. Reason abstractly and quantitatively.
  3. Construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others.
  4. Model with mathematics.
  5. Use appropriate tools strategically.
  6. Attend to precision.
  7. Look for and make use of structure.
  8. Look for and express regularity in repeated reasoning.

Content Standards

Massachusetts Curriculum Standards:

Grade 4:

North American Geography
US Political geography

Grade 5:
US History, Geography, Economics and Government
Development of democratic institutions and ideas
Responsibilities and Powers associated with federal officials