Matters of Education

Learning Happens Everywhere

The Math of Partisanship, HS

Length of Time:   60-75 minutes


We like to think of voting as a straight forward process—one person, one vote. But the actuality is quite different thanks to the structure of the Electoral College, limits on the total number of representatives and Congressional districts that have been gerrymandered, packed, and fracked. The activities in this lesson allow you to explore these issues with your students and question the fairness of our electoral system and perhaps, suggest something more equitable.

Essential Questions

Are all votes equal? What is the math of political partisanship?

Common Core Standards



English and Language Arts, Grades 11 and 12, Integration of Knowledge and Ideas

RI.11-12.9. Analyze seventeenth-, eighteenth-, and nineteenth-century foundational U.S. documents of historical and literary significance (including The Declaration of Independence, the Preamble to the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address) for their themes, purposes, and rhetorical features.

English/Language Arts; History/Social Studies, Grades 9-12

Key Ideas and Details

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.



Math Practices

  1. Reason abstractly and quantitatively
  1. Model with mathematics

 Reason quantitatively and use units to solve problems, HS.

Use units as a way to understand problems and to guide the solution of multi-step problems; choose and interpret units consistently in formulas; choose and interpret the scale and the origin in graphs and data displays.

Content Standards


US History 1: The Revolution through Reconstruction, 1763-1877

The Formation and Framework of American Democracy

Political Democratization, 1800-1860

Civil War and Reconstruction

US History 2: Reconstruction to the Present, 1877-Present

The Age of Reform, 1900-1940

Cold War America at Home, 1945-1980

Contemporary America, 1980-Present

American Government Elective