The 2020 elections will have long-lasting effects at the national, state and local levels. To help North Texas teachers, students and voters understand some key processes and issues, KERA commissioned a Dallas history teacher to create the downloadable lessons below.
We’ve also included a downloadable packet of KERA Kids elections-themed games and activities, librarian-recommended books about voting and a list of more election resources and information.
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Learn how the Electoral College works and understand its roles in elections through history. Think critically about its benefits for choosing presidents and problems it presents.
Learn the difference between caucuses and primaries and understand the important role they play in choosing American presidents. Learn about the significance of Super Tuesday and Texas’s participation.
Primaries & Caucuses
Learn the history of American political parties, including third parties, and the positions often held by the Republicans and Democrats.
Learn the major elements in a presidential election, from constitutional requirements for the job to the winner’s inauguration. Study the history of debates in presidential elections and think critically about whether these forums are an effective way to educate voters about each candidate’s position on major issues.
Campaigns & Debates
These fun activities and games (PDF) will teach children about voting and elections as they practice skills in literacy and math.
KERA and the Dallas Public Library team up every month to recommend books that help kids and teens build a lifelong passion for reading.
Check out these librarian-picked books for children, teens and even adults about elections and voting:
Here are more informative resources from other providers on U.S. voting and elections, like videos, interactive exercises, games and explanatory essays.
» Elections 2020 coverage — KERA News stories about local, state and national elections through the 2020 season.
» KERA Voting Guide for March 2020 primaries and beyond — Find information on North Texas polling places, what documents to bring when you vote, names to find on the ballot for the presidential and congressional races and a list of important dates leading up to the November 3 national election.
» Election Central from PBS LearningMedia – These FREE, TEKS-aligned videos, lesson plans, interactive exercises and other resources from PBS’s collection of free educational materials tackles topics like voting rights, media literacy and other topics in the news. It also includes an interactive map that lets students see Electoral College results in all U.S. presidential elections and predict the outcome in 2020. There’s also a link to a national project that invites students to create and publish audio or video commentaries on elections-related issues. The site will be updated through the year. (Middle and high school) IMPORTANT NOTE: When using PBS LearningMedia, it helps to create an account to gain quick access to the TEKS and special teaching tools. It’s easy and worth the effort!
» FRONTLINE Election Resources – These videos, lesson plans, articles and interactives from the award-winning show Frontline explore some of the complex issues, court rulings and personalities from the 2016 U.S. presidential election that are still shaping U.S. democracy. Provided by PBS LearningMedia. (High School; TEKS-aligned)
» PBS NewsHour Extra – This website has videos from PBS’s nightly newscast that have been curated for educational uses and supplemented with lesson plans, activities and articles about current events as well as a searchable archive. New updates are added each week. (Grades 6-12)
» iCivics – These FREE lesson plans, smart interactive games, glossaries and other resources on elections topics help students understand large topics like the full electoral process to narrower ones like the advantage enjoyed by incumbent candidates. iCivics is a nonprofit founded by former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor to teach about American government. Create an account for easiest access to the resources. (Grades 5-12)
» USA.gov – This wide-ranging information source from the federal government explores topics on elections and voting that range from the presidential election process and inauguration to state and local elections. A great resource for creating handouts or assigning student research.
» Official Texas Election Results – This page from the Texas Secretary of State has historical results for presidential elections, other national and state elections and constitutional amendments as well as information on voter registration and early voting. It also has a table of important 2020 election dates.
» VoteTexas.gov – Also from the Secretary of State’s office, this page has information on Texas requirements for registering to vote (particularly helpful for new voters), finding polling places, candidate listings on ballots for each county and more.
• Lessons created by Elroy Johnson, IV, eighth-grade history teacher at Rusk Middle School in Dallas ISD
• Project management by Kit Lively, KERA Director of Education
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