Debates and Mock Election Lesson Plan: Battle for the Presidency

Submitted by: Kim Seward

Grade Levels: 3-5

In this debates and mock election lesson plan, which is adaptable for grades 3 through 5, students use BrainPOP resources to explore the differences between the Democratic and Republican political parties. Students then create a presidential race within their school and perform the parts of a formal debate.

Lesson Plan Common Core State Standards Alignments

Students will:

  1. Be able to identify the difference between the Democratic and Republican parties
  2. Create a presidential race within their school
  3. Know and perform the parts of a formal debate

Materials:

  • Computers with BrainPOP Election resources and internet access
  • Poster board
  • Markers
  • Ballot box
  • I Voted stickers
  • Assembly hall with stage

Vocabulary:

democracy; republican; democrat; primaries; debate

Preparation:

A ballot box will need to be constructed or purchased prior to the lessons. Also, you will need to get "I Voted!" stickers for all students in your school that participate in the voting.

Lesson Procedure:

  1. Attention Grabber: Show the BrainPOP Political Parties movie.
  2. Explain to the class that we are going to have our own debate, and that half of the students will be representing the Democrats and the other half will represent the Rpublicans.
  3. Tell students that for the next week, we will be watching the BrainPOP election videos (one each day) and have a discussion about each in this order: Democracy, Political Party Origin, Political Beliefs, Presidental Election, Primaries and Caucases, and Voting (note: BrainPOP Jr. movies arealso available on President, Rights and Responsibilities, Local and State, and U.S. Symbols).
  4. Based on what they learn from each of the videos, students will decide which party they want to represent in our school election.
  5. Once they are on a political party campaign team, they will begin to research the beliefs and ideas of the candidates running in this election.
  6. Each student in the group will write a short speech on why they should be their party representative for the school speaking on behalf of either the Republican or Democratic nominee.
  7. Their party will choose one person in the group to represent them after everyone presents his/her speech in class. The whole group will then work together and create a speech and/or debate notes for their representative to present to the whole school or grade level.
  8. Students will create and post campaign posters around school for their party.
  9. The school will come together for a half hour debate to listen to the students representing the Democrats and Republicans.
  10. After the speeches, there will be a school election.
  11. Teachers will bring their classes to your room and your students will run the election process. (Make sure they give out the "I Voted!" stickers).
  12. Students will tally votes and the school presidential winner will be announced.
  13. After the real election, students will return to the topic and see who the next President of the United States will be and see if it was the same outcome as their school election.

Extension Activity:

You can use BrainPOP Activities & POP Quizzes or create worksheets to assess comprehension of videos and topics. These can also aid in planning for the reports and debates. Your class can create rubrics for speeches, campaign posters, and reports together.