Teaching your students about elections can be tons of fun! Not to mention the importance of them learning all about their civil duties at an early age. Even if it is not a presidential election year, your students can learn about the election process, all of the lingo, and how it all works locally and federally. Here are 5 fun activities for teaching the election process to elementary students.
5 Fun Activities for Teaching Students the Election Process
1. Read Books About Elections
Books are a great teaching tool, and they are the perfect place to start teaching your class about the election process. No matter the age of your students, read alouds are great engagement activity for any topic or unit. You can also let students read independently by adding election themed books to your classroom library.
These fiction and non-fiction election books are a great choice for the upper elementary classroom:
- What’s the Big Deal About Elections by Ruby Shamir
- If I Ran for President by Catherine Stier
- The Class Election from the Black Lagoon by Mike Thaler
- History Smashers: Women’s Right to Vote by Kate Messner
- The Kids Complete Guide to Elections by Emma Carlson Berne
2.Watch Videos to Teach the Election Process
Kids love to watch videos! Technology is always a great way to keep them engaged. There are many vidoes out there about voting. This video on You Tube really helps to explain the importance of voting in a way that elementary students can connect to.
BrainPop is another option for great educational videos. They have resources for all a variety of grade levels and topics. This is a subscription service so if your school doesn’t already subscribe talk with your administrator or PTA about possible funding. It’s worth it!
3.Interactive Notebooks and Mini Units
Books and videos help us to engage our students in the introduction of our new topic. But digging into the details of the election process and voting will take more.
Interactive notebooks are an amazing resource for elementary students. They guide students through documenting important information and are a great introduction to taking notes. And . . . they are so much fun!
With a variety of foldables and hands-on sorting cards your students’ notebook becomes and interactive textbook. Students love not only creating their interactive notebooks but also reviewing them.
When teaching elections to elementary students here’s some topics you want to make sure to include:
- what is an election / what is voting
- the history of voting rights
- how do we elect the President
- what is the electoral college
- how are federal, state and local elections the same
- why is voting important
Any time we can engage students in the lesson we find that their learning increases. Interactive notebooks are a great way to do just that. Whether you create a notebook for the entire year or do mini-notebooks for one topic your students will love learning with these hands-on activities.
4.Writing Projects for Teaching Elections to Elementary Students
It is always a great idea to tie writing in any part of your curriculum that you can. Social studies and writing make a great connection. When it comes to an election unit, there are so many writing topics that you can choose from to get your students writing about what they are learning.
This “If I Were President” activity is a great way to students to put themselves in the role of President. Not only will they think about the important decisions they would need to make, they also have fun with some of the not-so-serious parts of the job.
Incorporating journal writing, persuasive writing, or how to writing are also easy when writing about the elections and voting. Not only will students work on important writing skills, but they will also be using higher-level thinking skills too! Consider a writing prompt like: “Should we keep the electoral college or use the popular vote?” or “Why is it important to vote?” These prompts not only get students writing about what they have learned, but they also serve as great assessment tools to really see what the students are learning.
5.Hold an Election
One of the best ways to help students understand the election process is to allow them to be part of the election process. Since we can’t allow them to vote in an official election, we can create an election just for them.
Consider holding student council elections at a time when students are learning about the election process. Holding elections for a special one month round of classroom jobs is also a great way for students to participate in the election process.
Holding a mock election that coincides with a presidential or local election is a great opportunity too! If you hold a mock election around the mayoral election you might even be able to get the candidates to come talk to your class.
A not-so-realistic mock election is also a great way to teach about the election process and voting. Let your students vote for the leader of Booklandia. They can nominate their favorite characters, build their campaign and even participate in primary and final elections. Or maybe you just need a definitive answer on whether cookies and cream or cookie dough ice cream is the best. However, you decide, your students will love being immersed in the election process.
US Elections Interactive Notebook & Mini Unit
Take your elections unit to the next level with these 5 fun and engaging resources for teaching the election process to elementary students. You can grab the US Elections Interactive Notebook & Mini Unit and get access to all of my printable and digital resources for teaching elections.
This is a high-interest, engaging packet! It includes the following 5 components:
- Interactive Notebook Foldables
- Electoral College Interactive Notebook Activity
- Information Guides
- If I Were President Activity Sheet and Electoral College Worksheet
- Bulletin Board Set
This resource is ready to print and use! It is also comes with the digital version that can be used with Google apps to provide a great technology connection too! Then add in some books, videos and your class election and you’ve got the recipe for some serious learning!
Save it for Later!
Be sure to pin this image to your favorite classroom Pinterest board so you can come back the next time you are teaching the election process to elementary students.