Objective for the Lesson:
This lesson will introduce students to the campaign process and what candidates do when they want to be elected to office.
A big part of every election is the preceding campaign season when the candidates work to convince voters that they are the best person for the job. This lesson will introduce students to the campaign process and strategies candidates use to get their messages out.
- Understand what a political campaign is.
- Examine the strategies political candidates use to try to convince people to vote for them.
- Organize a mock campaign for their preferred candidate.
publicity: the giving out of information about a product, person, or company for advertising or promotional purposes.
slogan: a short and striking or memorable phrase used in advertising
political party: an organized group of people who have the same ideology or have the same political positions
campaign: a competition by rival political candidates and organizations for political office
- Ask students if they have noticed any signs in their area advertising candidates who are running for office.
- What are some things these signs have in common? (Possible answers could include the candidate’s name in large letters, political party word or symbol, a slogan, eye-catching color and design).
- Make a class chart with student observations on it to guide students later as they create posters.
- What are other strategies that candidates use to get people to know them and vote for them? (Possible answers may include: Billboards, T.V. and radio ads, newspaper ads, visits to cities and towns to meet voters, televised debates, flyers mailed to voters, yard signs, bumper stickers.)
- What is the purpose of these strategies?
- Have students get with a research partner. Instruct them to create a campaign poster for one of the candidates using the traits from the list that was created in the previous lesson. Also, instruct the students that they will need to prepare a one-minute campaign speech listing the reasons they think their candidate is the best person for the job of president of the United States.
- Have a class discussion about how we can have different opinions and still be kind and civil with each other. Remind students that even though they might not agree on the same values or the same candidates, we can still discuss and dialogue about the election. As a class, create some norms and rules about how we will talk about the candidates as well as how we will treat each other during the upcoming discussions.
- Hand the students the graphic organizer Comparing the Candidates.
- Invite students to hang their posters in the room or hallway.
- Find time during this week to let students present their one-minute campaign speeches telling why people should vote for their candidate.
- Give students time to research the posters and learn more about the candidates. Invite students to take notes on their graphic organizer Comparing the Candidates.