Social Studies Teaching Tips

10 Fun Election Activity Ideas

Here are some additional ideas for election activities. We tend to talk about the more unique ideas.
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  1. Write a Help Wanted Ad for President.
  2. Examine Campaign Slogans.
  3. Create a Candidates Views on Issues Checklist.
  4. Mock Voter Registration/Election.
  5. Run a complete mock campaign.
  6. Write the perfect President's Resume.
  7. Create Political Cartoons on Issues.
  8. Examine current polls and how polls change.
  9. Determine the biggest 3 issues to your class.
  10. Campaign Ad Critiques.

China Lesson Plan Ideas

Here are some great ways to incorporate China in your class.
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1. Make origami animals that represent students´ personalities.
2. Write names using calligraphy.
3. Have a debate on censorship.
4. Construct a “Great Wall”.
5. Make cultural statues.
6. Create a dancing dragon.
7. Make Chinese lanterns.
8. Make homework scrolls.
9. Compare and contrast life in China.
10. Send letters to Chinese pen pals.

Teaching Idea

The Class Crier
George, Junior High School Teacher: Bronx, NY

"Role play what it was like during colonial times when technology did not exist as a means of communicating the news. Assign a student who serves as the Class Crier" who will announce special items, the news, and class or group assignments. A bell can be used to make the announcements to illustrate the mechanisms used in days of old to inform the public of news. Each announcement can be written on a large piece of paper to be posted on a bulletin board for all to read. Students can discuss the implications of such mechanisms and compare to how we receive present day news."

Teaching Idea

"Race Around the World"
Margaret Henies, Caldwick Middle School: Ohio

"Pull down a large World Map and have students come up to locate countries, cities, bodies of water, etc. You can make this into a team competition by having students race to locate places that you call out."

Teaching Idea

Time Lines are Great Fun !
Lyle, 8th Grade Teacher: Austin, TX

"Get students to develop a timeline that shows several events that affected the history of their home state. Have them add the arrivals of different cultural groups including women and minorities who contributed to build the state. Display the time line in the classroom and use it to teach each important event according to when it happened. You can use it to assign topics that students can write about, etc. Students can also illustrate each event to make it colorful and stimulating."

Teaching Idea

Autobiography as a Primary Source
Jan, 5th Grade Teacher: Malone, NY

"Pick an autobiography for students to read. Ask students what they learned about the author, experiences, life events, locations, etc. Instruct them to verify what they read by consulting with resources: textbooks, library materials, Internet search, etc. Ask them to defend the authenticity of the autobiographical information that was presented in the book. Ask them how much was fact and how much was not? An assignment can be that the students write their own factual autobiography."

Teaching Idea

"Race Around the World"
Margret Henies, Caldwick Middle School: Ohio

"Pull down a large World Map and have students come up to locate countries, cities, bodies of water, etc. You can make this into a team competition by having students race to locate places that you call out."

Teaching Idea

"How do I get home?"
Karla, Elementary Teacher

"A fun way to for students to learn geography is to have students plot a course for a given location back to their home. I start this activity with an introductory set. I have students individually plot a course from our school to their homes. Next, I have them plot a course from a major county landmark to their homes. Local shopping centers seem to work well.

After students grasp the general concept, I place them in cooperative groups and have them plot courses to school from other neighboring states. By the end of the year, I have students plotting courses from different countries to our school. This activity really helps them with their map skills."

Teaching Idea

"How a bill becomes a law."
Nancy, 6th Grade Teacher

"This is a great activity for demonstrating our government at work. It can be adapted to a variety of grade levels.

I start this activity by having students write a brief essay on why they should be elected the class President. After reviewing the essay with my colleagues, I nominate five candidates. The class then holds a secret ballot election. The student with the greatest number of votes is elected president. The remaining four candidates become the leaders of groups.

Group one proposes legislation. Group two decides the pros and cons of the bill and the issues that need further debate. Group three represents the Senate. Group Four represents the House of Representatives. Group three and four debate the issues identified by group 2.

All students then vote for or against the bill. If the bill fails, the bill is amended and we start the process over. If the bill passes, it goes before the President. If the bill has 2/3 support or greater, the President will pass the bill. If this level of support is not met, the President will veto the bill."

Teaching Idea

Speed Through The States
Jenny Wilkes, Elementary Teacher

A great method to help students learn their 50 States is to use a blank map of all 50 states and then give them 6 minutes to complete it. I review the correct answers with them. The next day, we do it again. We reduce the time to 5 minutes. We continue this until it takes only 2 minutes for them to identify all the States. This works great!


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