Welcome! We hope you'll find The Democracy Project site to be useful and fun during the election year and beyond.

To Parents: The Democracy Project’s Sticker Race ’08 activity and online community offers many opportunities for you and your child to examine election-related topics such as issues, persuasion, and map-reading. Read more about how you can expand on this online activity with your kids offline.

To Teachers: The activities and lesson plans you see on the site have been designed with the following goals in mind:
  • introducing the structure and duties of local, state and federal government;
  • understanding how government affects our everyday lives, through laws, institutions and services provided in the community;
  • identifying the duties of the U.S. president and thinking critically about the skills necessary to be a good president;
  • understanding the history of voting rights in America, and articulating how voting and other forms of civic involvement are essential to a healthy democracy.
The online activities are designed for students in grades three to six, with accompanying lesson plans for language arts (LA), social studies (SS), and math (M) teachers. Below you will find more information about the educational goals for each online activity; lesson plans for each activity; curriculum standards related to this content; and the teachers who wrote the lesson plans.

Enjoy!

Betsy Norris, Dulcie Davis, and Donna Brock
Lesson Plan Authors


Sticker Race 2008
The Democracy Project's Sticker Race '08 activity and online community offers many opportunities for you and your students to examine election-related topics such as issues, persuasion, and map-reading.

Related Lesson Plans:
Honk If You Agree: Part 1 (C, WM, LA): Students will learn that there are factors involved in helping an individual detect issues and then come to oppose or support those issues. It is important for children to identify issues of importance, form their opinions, and support those opinions with evidence and reason. They will also learn how to state their feelings in a persuasive manner.

Honk If You Agree: Part 2 (C): Using “Honk If You Agree! Part 1”, the students will prioritize their opinions by a hierarchy of value, and then be able to communicate those opinions in an effective and persuasive manner.


How Does Government Affect Me?
A virtual tour of a town's buildings, roads, and parks teaches kids how federal, state, and local government decisions directly impact their community. This activity also provides a basic understanding of the branches of the federal government and balance of power.

Related Lesson Plans:
Why Vote: A Public Awareness Campaign (SS, LA): Learn about the important public services that government provides, and by extension, the importance of voting in local, state and federal elections. Create a public service campaign to encourage adults in your community to vote.

Tasty Mapping (SS, M): After learning about government services and branches of local government, students identify important landmarks, institutions, and structures within their own community, creating an edible map to share with classmates, parents and community members.

Graphically Speaking (M, SS): Explore the relationship between congressional representation and state population by graphing current statistics and taking a historical look at the Constitution.

Budget Making (M, SS): Introduce students to budgets, expenses and savings; learn about government services and basic expenses; and create pie charts representing government spending priorities.

City, County, Community (SS, LA): Define the attributes of good places to live and compare the local community to another American region. Create brochures describing local landmarks, amenities, and services for local distribution.


President For A Day
This activity provides a job description for the presidency, so students understand what kinds of skills and competencies are necessary in that office. Students have the opportunity to role play the president for a day, making decisions about different events that a president might actually experience (meetings with Cabinet members, speeches to the public, bowling in the White House).

Related Lesson Plans:
Dear Presidential Diary (LA, SS): In this creative writing exercise, students develop five first-person diary entries exploring the duties and privileges of the presidency.

Presidential Places Quilt (SS, LA, M): Honor past presidents and explore their connections to Washington, D.C. landmarks through research and the creation of a class quilt, to be displayed in the school and presented to the U.S. president through digital photography and creative writing.

Painting Presidential Portraits (SS, LA): Redesign U.S. paper currency to recognize six U.S. presidents and describe their significant accomplishments.

The Perfect President (SS, LA): Identify the legal requirements, previous experiences, and personality traits that equip someone to be a successful president. Write a job description and a newspaper article. Evaluate how selected past presidents measure up to the criteria generated by students.

I.O.U.—An Introduction To The National Debt (M, SS): One of the President's most important duties—setting national priorities through the federal budget—is explored here, with a special focus on the national debt, explained in introductory terminology.


Inside The Voting Booth
This activity introduces students to the history of suffrage in America, through the "Voting Time Machine," which presents case studies from different decades. Students also anticipate the time when they will be able to vote, through a customized, printable voter registration card, which also asks them to identify the issues they think are most important today.

Related Lesson Plans:
To Vote Or Not To Vote (SS, M, LA): Examine the history of voting rights in America, explore the current-day problemof low voter turnout, and create community surveys to evaluate different ways to improve voter registration and voter participation.

Why Vote: A Public Awareness Campaign (SS, LA): Learn about the important public services that government provides and by extension, the importance of voting in local, state and federal elections. Create a public service campaign to encourage adults in your community to vote.

Citizenship City (SS): Define "good citizen," explore ways for students to volunteer in the community, and create public service campaigns about the importance of civic responsibility.

Donkeys, Elephants, and Voters, Oh My! (SS, LA): Learn about political parties by creating new political parties and issue platforms. Plan for a mock convention.

All Aboard! (SS, M): Plan a "whistle stop" campaign train trip across the United States. Create slogans, songs, speeches. Use measurements of time and distance.


Printer-Friendly Version of Online Activity Text
How to Print:

Pages of the online activities should be easily printable for classroom use. However, should you have difficulty printing (for example, if your pages print with a black background), you may need to change your printer settings.

In you are using Netscape, go to File and choose Page Setup. On this dialog box, check the box that reads "Black Text."

If you are using IE, go to "Tools" and choose "Internet Options." In the dialog box, click on the "Advanced" tab and scroll down to "Printing." Make sure that the box that reads "Print background colors and images" is NOT checked.

Related Standards:
The lessons and activities described above have been designed to correlate with national curriculum standards in math, language arts and social studies for grades three to six. Specific standards matches are listed within the text of each lesson plan. You may also access a comprehensive listing of the standards addressed in the three online activities.

About the Authors:
Betsy Norris, Dulcie Davis, and Donna Brock are sixth grade classroom teachers in Shelbyville, Tennessee. They work cooperatively in a block situation striving to incorporate technology and to provide cross-curricular activities for their students. Betsy is the language arts teacher, Dulcie is the science/math teacher, and Donna is the social studies teacher.



sticker race 2008 | how does government affect me | president for a day | step inside the voting booth | what's great about 2008