Matters of Education

Learning Happens Everywhere

The Stories of Election Maps, Gr 6-8

Length of Time:   30-60 Minutes


The results are in. What is the easiest way to show who won and who lost? More importantly, in a democracy, how can we keep track of our past? But one of the more interesting facets of US politics is that while we vote by population, given the Electoral College System, we need to report the results by state. This reality often creates a false visual impression, i.e. we vote by numbers but report by acreage in a standard state election map. In this lesson to supplement a standard Social Studies curriculum, explore different efforts by cartographers to present the results of presidential elections and see for yourself if they clarify or confuse.

Essential Questions

Why is there an inherent distortion in the presentation of presidential election results when a single visual image is used?

Common Core Standards

Grades 6-8: English/Language Arts; History/Social Studies

Key Ideas and Details

RH.6-8.2. Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary of the source distinct from prior knowledge or opinions.

Integration of Knowledge and Ideas

RH.6-8.7. Integrate visual information (e.g., in charts, graphs, photographs, videos, or maps) with other information in print and digital texts.

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

Standard 17: How to Apply Geography to Interpret the Past


Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks

US History 1

  •             History and Geography
  •             Interpret Graphs, Charts and Maps
  •             The Formation and Framework of American Democracy