With the presidential election just a month away, the campaigns are heating up. In addition to the official candidate sites for Barack Obama and John McCain, here are some online resources for students to learn about the election process and keep up with the candidates.
"It takes 270 electoral votes to win the Presidential election." This interactive map shows each state and the number of electoral votes they control. As you click on each state, you can change it from red (Republican), to blue (Democrat), and then to tan (undecided.) As you modify each state, the total counter will also update. To begin, you can choose from a number of starting views, such as, for example, the actual results from the 2004 election, when the Republicans won with 286 electoral votes. If you have cookies enabled, your custom map will be saved for your return visits.
National Mock Election5 stars
"The National Student/Parent Mock Election seeks to turn the sense of powerlessness that keeps young Americans and their parents, too, from going to the polls into a sense of the power of participation in our democracy." Run by the League of Women Votes and dozens of corporate sponsors, the nonprofit, nonpartisan program provides educational materials to anyone who wants to participate. In 2004, over 4 million students, parents and teachers participated. Since the project began, it has touched over 40 million participants. This year, the Mock Election will be held October 30, 2008.
PBS: Kids Democracy Project5 stars
This PBS site for grades three to six is evergreen because it does not specifically cover the 2008 elections, but rather the process itself. "How Does Government Affect Me?" is the largest of the three sections, with pages of learning on topics as diverse as funding local schools to checks and balances in the three branches of the federal government. "President for a Day" is an interactive exercise where you learn all about the president's duties by creating your own presidential agenda.
Rock the Vote3 stars
Rock the Vote makes "political participation cool" by "incorporating the entertainment community and youth culture into its activities." Educational articles are interspersed with free MP3 downloads, and drawings for tickets to Rock the Vote fund-raising concerts. You can get involved by adding a voter registration widget to your blog or MySpace account, or downloading an activist toolkit to help you run a local voter registration drive.
Scholastic: Election 20085 stars
Scholastic: Election 2008 is my pick-of- the-day for grades three through eight. My favorite clicks are Meet the Candidates, Explore the Election, and all the election games. Games include Create a Campaign Poster, Guess Where the Candidates Stand, and a terrific You're the Candidate game. In this simulation game, you select issues that are important to you, and map out a campaign strategy that includes choosing states to focus on. Elsewhere on the site, teachers and parents will find lesson plans and guides for brining the election into the classroom and the home.
Feldman, Barbara. "Election 2008." Surfnetkids. Feldman Publishing. 30 Sep. 2008. Web. 31 Jul. 2014. <http://www.surfnetkids.com/resources/election-2008/ >.
By Barbara J. Feldman. Originally published September 30, 2008. Last modified May 12, 2014.
The following links are either new discoveries or sites that didn't make it into my newspaper column because of space constraints. Enjoy!
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