Informed Voting Lesson Plan: Let’s Vote For Our President

Submitted by: Beatrice Garcia

Grade Levels: 3-5

In this multi-day lesson plan, which is adaptable for grades 3-5, students use BrainPOP resources to talk, draw, and write about the rights and responsibilities of a good citizen. Students will identify and choose which presidential candidate they would vote for during the upcoming presidential election, and exercise the right to vote by dramatizing a presidential election.

Lesson Plan Common Core State Standards Alignments

Students will:

  1. Talk, draw, and write about the rights and responsibilities of a good citizen.
  2. Identify and choose, based on information collected, which presidential candidate they would vote for during the upcoming presidential election.
  3. Exercise the right to vote by dramatizing a presidential election.

Materials:

  • Two or three boxes large enough for children to use as voting cubicles.
  • Teacher made Voter's Registrations for each student.
  • Internet and projector for BrainPOP Jr.
  • Enough computers so each child can work at his/her own computer, if possible
  • Posters, newspaper or magazine pictures of the Democratic and Republican party candidates
  • Teacher-made voting ballots
  • Teacher-made (or internet downloaded) signs denoting voting propaganda and precinct voting directions

Vocabulary:

"Rights and Responsibilities" movie Word Wall: right; responsibility; law; citizen; common good. Other words: vote; candidate; president; vice-president; Democratic Party; Republican Party; voter's registration; election.

Preparation:

This lesson plan has been developed taking into consideration the special needs student. Therefore, it is highly visual and kinesthetic. It is also required, prior to teaching this lesson, that the students have knowledge of the responsibilities of the U.S. President. This can be accomplished by utilizing all the ideas, resources, and movie of the BrainPOP Jr. President topic page. To prepare for this lesson, arrange your classroom as a voting precinct. Decorate outside the classroom with posters or magazine pictures of the election candidates. Prepare teacher made voting propaganda (or download it from the internet) and place them on the outside walls of the classroom. You will also need to prepare instructions for the voting precinct (such as voting booths and signs for last names beginning with A-G, H-N, O-T, and U-Z) and also prepare Voter's Registration Cards. Number each cubicle box 1, 2, and 3, and place in a private area of the classroom.

Lesson Procedure:

  1. Day One: Have students walk around your decorated classroom and encourage them to ask questions about the signs, pictures, and directions they see. Explain that they will be learning about rights and responsibilities of citizens.
  2. Proceed to play the BrainPOP Jr. movie Rights and Responsibilities. Pause the movie (when pause button blinks red) to clarify or check for understanding of concepts.
  3. After viewing the movie, use the Talk About It feature to discuss the questions "What rights do you have? What responsibilities do you have?" Model by typing into the web page or list on the board the rights and responsibilities of a good citizen that the students mention.
  4. Have students review the Word Wall to get acquainted with vocabulary words: right, responsibility, law, citizen, common good.
  5. Ask students to go to Draw About It and draw "What can you do to make your community better?" Have them print out their drawings. Help students as needed.
  6. Distribute squares from the Responsibility Squares activity (one square per child.) Have students write their names and the responsibility they drew about on the previous section Draw About It. If you like, make a quilt out of the "responsibilities" your students drew, or display their drawings and descriptions in any fashion you want.
  7. Close Day 1 lesson by summarizing all the concepts learned.
  8. Day Two: Explain to students that today they will be dramatizing "Voting for Our President." Give a brief review of what you did in the previous lesson. Remind your students that voting for our new president and his/her cabinet is our right and responsibility.
  9. Write new vocabulary on the board: candidate, vote, president, vice-president, Democratic Party, Republican Party, elections. Read these words with the students and use BrainPOP Jr.'s Big Word Wall where applicable to briefly explain their meanings. As the lesson progresses, you can stop and explain with more details what they mean so that the students will better understand the definitions.
  10. Divide students into pairs and distribute various newspaper and magazine pictures of the current presidential election candidates.
  11. Have the students look at the pictures, describe who and what they see, and read the captions. Help students whenever necessary.
  12. Ask students to select a speaker in their group in order to tell about their pictures.
  13. Make a chart on the board - "Democratic Party - Republican Party." Write down the names of the candidates on their respective section of the chart as the students mention their names. Briefly explain what the parties mean.
  14. After each group talks about their pictures, help students summarize the information of that group by writing it under the Democratic party or the Republican Party chart.
  15. After all the groups present their findings, have students individually consider which candidate they consider best for President of the United States of America.
  16. Distribute the Voter's Registrations to the students. Explain that now that they know who to vote for, they will be role playing the election of the USA President. Explain that the voter's registration gives them the right to vote and identifies them as US citizens with all the rights and responsibilities.
  17. Have the students make a line and proceed to vote. Assign some students or ask for volunteers to verify the voter's registration and give out the ballots to vote. Later, these students will also vote.
  18. Have a student count and tally the presidential votes in front of the class. Emphasize the importance of being truthful when counting the votes.
  19. Announce which candidate is the winner.
  20. Close the Day 2 lesson by encouraging students to use vocabulary words to tell what the class did on their election day.

Extension Activity:

Students can accompany their parents to vote on Election Day and write or draw about their experience. They can also track all election votes by viewing the news and finding out who won the elections.