Matters of Education

Learning Happens Everywhere

Teach the 2016 Election HS

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. Distinctive for negativity and unique personalities, I am also mindful of the global impact of the results. Most lessons in this unit could be adapted to any election 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 these 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

Each lesson contains:

A basic assignment

Teacher sheet


Student Sheet

Detailed procedure

Enrichment activities to supplement the basic lesson

Assessment Criteria

Hard copies of all materials necessary to complete the basic assignment

Links to web resources for enrichment activities

Common Core and Massachusetts Curriculum 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