Presidential Election Maps: The Stories They Tell
Length of Time: 45-60 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.
Why is there an inherent distortion in the presentation of presidential election results when a single visual image is used?
Common Core Standards
English and Language Arts, Grades 11 and 12, Integration of Knowledge and Ideas
RI.11-12.7. Integrate and evaluate multiple sources of information presented in different media or formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively) as well as in words in order to address a question or solve a problem.
English/Language Arts; History/Social Studies, Grades 9-12
Key Ideas and Details
RH.9-10-11-12.2. Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary of how key events or ideas develop over the course of the text.
Integration of Knowledge and Ideas
RH.9-12.7. Integrate and evaluate multiple sources of information presented in diverse formats and media (e.g., visually, quantitatively, as well as in words) in order to address a question or solve a problem.
US History 2: Reconstruction to the Present, 1877-Present
Industrial America, 1870-1920
Contemporary America, 1980-Present
American Government Elective