Matters of Education

Learning Happens Everywhere

Teach the 2016 Election, MS

Length of Time:   Will Vary


In this Curriculum Guide there are 11 lessons to help teach this year’s Presidential election.

Each lesson can be done independently of the others or combined as time and interest allow.

Lessons 1 through 4 are specific to the 2016 Presidential Election.

Lessons 5 through 10 are general curricula that could be used in any year to explore the electoral process but also incorporate this year’s race.

Essential Questions

I have been an educator for 35 years and like many of you struggled with how to teach this election cycle given the negativity and unique personalities involved as well as the huge stakes of the result. Most of the lessons in this unit could be adapted to any cycle but 2A attempts to grapple with the problems, personalities, and consternation both candidates have generated. For students (and teachers) of history the broader context is always what frames our understanding. And while we are not yet ready to write the history of this campaign, we can bring those tools to bear. What choices exist? Who gets to make these choices? And what is the impact of the choices we have made upon future decisions and events? I hope those frames help us all make sense of what has often seemed insensible.

Common Core Standards

Content Standards

Lesson 1: Explore the Candidate’s Lives

Lesson 2: What are the Issues in this Election?

Lesson 2A: The Elephant (and Donkey) in the Room: Two Unusual Candidates

Lesson 3: Track the Election Campaign and Results

Lesson 4: Timetable for the 2016 Elections

Lesson 5: What Does It Mean to Vote?

Lesson 6:What is the President’s Job?

Lesson 7: The Electoral College

Lesson 8: Political Parties

Lesson 9: The Math of Partisanship

Lesson 10: Presidential Election Maps — The Stories They Tell