LEARN NC

In this activity, students use the Mini Page Archive to gain an understanding of what the Electoral College is and how it functions in the United States. Students will read a Mini Page on this topic and answer comprehension questions. To demonstrate their knowledge, students will make a voters’ information pamphlet explaining the Electoral College.

Learning outcomes

Students will:

  • understand the Electoral College — what it is and how it works.
  • demonstrate an understanding of the Electoral College and related vocabulary through the creation of an informational pamphlet.

Teacher planning

Time required

45-60 minutes

Materials needed

  • Copies of page four of the 1992 Mini Page about the electoral vote — one per student (if students will not be accessing it on individual computers)
  • Unlined paper (any color) — one sheet per student
  • Markers or crayons
  • Copies of The Electoral Vote and the Presidential Election Reading Guide — one per student
  • Copes of Pamphlet Instructions — one per student

Technology resources

  • Computer lab or individual student computers
  • Computer with Internet connected to a multimedia projector

Handouts

The electoral vote and the presidential election reading guide
Students complete this handout as they read about the Electoral College in the Mini Page.
Open as PDF (138 KB, 1 page)
Electoral vote pamphlet instructions
Students use these instructions to guide them as they create a pamphlet about the Electoral College.
Open as PDF (175 KB, 1 page)

Pre-activities

Prior knowledge

The Political Parties activity is a good introduction to this lesson, if you have not already taught it.

Activities

  1. Explain to students that they will be learning about the Electoral College, which is important for the presidential election in the U.S.
  2. Project the Mini Page on the board or hand out copies, along with The Electoral Vote and the Presidential Election Reading Guide.
  3. Be sure to explain to students that the date listed for the election is incorrect as this was published in 1992. For 2012, the election will be November 6th.
  4. Draw students’ attention to the pictures of the 1992 presidential candidates, and ask students to identify this year’s candidates.
  5. Either read the Mini Page aloud as a class, have students read aloud in small groups or individually, depending on student needs. Students should answer the reading comprehension questions as they read and while the teacher monitors.
  6. After everyone is finished, students can trade papers to check them as a formative assessment while the teacher goes over the answers.
  7. Once the answers have been covered and any questions answered, teachers should tell students that now they will use their new knowledge to make informational pamphlets about the Electoral College to give to someone they know who is a voter, as many adults do not know how the Electoral College works.
  8. Either hand out the Electoral Vote Pamphlet Instructions or project them on the board. Review them with students, making sure they understand the requirements.
  9. Provide students with paper and markers.
  10. Monitor student work, ensuring that they are focusing on the content of the pamphlet more than the style of the pamphlet.
  11. When students are finished, ask volunteers to share their pamphlets with the class.
  12. Teachers should tell students that after they have graded and returned the pamphlets, students are encouraged to give them to someone they know who is a voter.

Assessment

  • Check students’ answers to the Electoral Vote and the Presidential Election Reading Guide.
  • Check student pamphlets for items listed in the instructions.

Critical vocabulary

constitution
rules for governing our country
Electoral College
a group that has the duty to elect the president of the United States
electoral votes
votes that elect our President and Vice President; there are a total of 538 electoral votes, and this number is based on the total number of members of Congress
House of Representatives
elected officials who make the laws for our country; the lower house of the United States Congress
Senate
elected officials who make the laws for our country; the upper house of the United States Congress

  • Common Core State Standards
    • English Language Arts (2010)
      • Reading: Informational Text

        • Grade 4
          • 4.RIT.3 Explain events, procedures, ideas, or concepts in a historical, scientific, or technical text, including what happened and why, based on specific information in the text.

  • North Carolina Essential Standards
    • Social Studies (2010)
      • Grade 5

        • 5.C&G.1 Understand the development, structure and function of government in the United States. 5.C&G.1.1 Explain how ideas of various governments influenced the development of the United States government (Roman, Greek, Iroquois, European and British)....

North Carolina curriculum alignment

English Language Arts (2004)

Grade 4

  • Goal 4: The learner will apply strategies and skills to create oral, written, and visual texts.
    • Objective 4.03: Make oral and written presentations using visual aids with an awareness of purpose and audience.

Social Studies (2003)

Grade 4

  • Goal 4: The learner will analyze social and political institutions in North Carolina such as government, education, religion, and family and how they structure society, influence behavior, and respond to human needs.
    • Objective 4.03: Explain the importance of responsible citizenship and identify ways North Carolinians can participate in civic affairs.