Connecting Math and Language Arts to Civics
Students will learn the necessary prerequisites for an individual to vote. They will examine the actual percentages of voter participation in their county and begin to think about issues that are connected to low voter turnout. Students will create and conduct a survey and analyze their findings, to help them further understand the causes of low voter turnout and, based on their findings, propose solutions to increase voter participation.
Grade Levels: 4th- 8th
Time: three class sessions (approx.)
Computers with internet access
Examples of surveys
VictorÕs Voting Adventure worksheet Š class set
Microsoft Excel or similar spreadsheet program (to be used with older children)
2. Direct students to the Kids Corner section, Victor VoterÕs Voting Adventure and instruct them to find out what Victor learns about voting on his adventure. Have them record their findings on the worksheet provided (answer key is also provided).
3. Ask students what percent of the voting population they think voted in the last election. Direct students to the Smart Voter web site (http://www.smartvoter.org/) to search the voting results and voter turnout numbers for your county. You can also visit the archives to see if results from previous elections are also listed (Note: this section is not as complete). Discuss the percentages and ask if students think this is a good turnout. Why or Why not? Are all of the voices being heard?
4. Based on what the students learned in the two previous activities, ask them if they think there might be an easier way to vote. Brainstorm ways to improve the voting process and to improve voter registration.
5. Conduct a community survey to research the local voter participation in the most recent elections. Create the survey form together including the following information: basic demographic data (sex, age, level of education, occupation, etc.), questions about voting behaviors (Did you vote in the most recent elections? Why or why not?), questions about improving the voting process and voter registration (Do you think the voting process could be improved?; Choose the best way that we can improve voter registrationŃprovide options that students brainstormed; Choose the best way that we can improve the voting processŃprovide options that students brainstormed). Note: you may want to have students review other surveys to get an idea about how a survey is constructed.
6. Have each student survey 10 people. Encourage them to survey a variety of people that represent different ages, levels of education, occupations, etc.
7. Create a student tally sheet for students to record their results. Combine all student results in a class tally sheet or create a spreadsheet of database. Have students compare and contrast the results that they gathered with the classroom data. Encourage students to draw conclusions about the data that they collected. Find out the percentage of eligible voters that voted and compare it to the county figures. Have students list the 5 reasons that voters did not vote and the most popular changes to the voting process that they discovered.
8. Create a class letter to your local registrar of voters highlighting the student findings. Include the survey results. Have all of the students sign the letter before sending it off.
Please note: Depending on the age and grade level of your students, portions of this lesson can either be extended or omitted (especially in terms of statistical measures and writing pieces).
Statistics, Data Analysis, and Probability
Grade 4: Students organize, represent, and interpret numerical and categorical data and clearly communicate their findings.
Grade 5: Students display, analyze, compare, and interpret different data sets, including data sets of different sizes.
Grade 6: Students compute and analyze statistical measurements for data sets; Students use data samples of a population and describe the characteristics and limitations of the samples.
Grades 3rd & 4th: Writing Strategies
Students write clear, coherent sentences and paragraphs that develop a central idea. Their writing shows they consider the audience and purpose. Students progress through the stages of the writing process (e.g., prewriting, drafting, revising, editing successive versions).
Victor Voter's Voting Adventure
1) Victor knows that he is able to vote because he is older than __________________.
2) Victor can get a voter registration form online, at the public library, or at other ___________________________________.
3) Victor reads his information booklet and the newspaper. He also looks at __________________ to find out about the election.
4) Victor goes to his __________________to vote on election day.
Victor Voter's Voting Adventure
TeacherÕs Answer Sheet
1. Victor knows that he is able to vote because he is older than (eighteen).
2. Victor can get a voter registration form online, at the public library, or at other (government offices).
3. Victor reads his information booklet and the newspaper. He also looks at (websites) to find out about the election.
4. Victor goes to his (polling place) to vote on election day.
Additional Projects: Discuss the importance of voting with the class, especially voting in local elections. There are fewer voters in a local election than in a national election, so one vote counts even more!