Unit 5 Resources: Election Season in AP Government

The election season of 2016 was insane and I was so burnt out at the end of it that I promised myself I would never do that again. There is so much information out there and sometimes as teachers, we feel like we have to know everything.

But why?

We should be giving students the tools to learn and know what they want about the election, as well as what they need to know regarding the curriculum.

The last thing we need in a year of asynchronous learning is election fatigue, especially considering that we have both a presidential and Congressional elections, not to mention state and local elections! (Side note: I love the Pew Research website as it has a lot of different topics and you can utilize the charts and graphs for quantitative analysis). Remember, unit 5 is roughly 20% of the exam (or 0% if you look at 2020). Try to utilize the guidelines to keep you from spending too much time.

Keep it simple, give yourself a break from the news cycle, and focus on student outcomes.


Unit 5 Political Participation Resources

Videos

These videos are available without logins or cost

Suppressed: The Fight to Vote (38 minutes)
Electoral Dysfunction (2012), 36 Minutes


Podcasts

I love podcasts, and these are quick, timely, and as middle ground as I have found. NPR has a lot of great things, but their Politics Podcast is one of my favorites. Again, nothing too long and it can lead to a great virtual discussion. Students can also listen without being attached to a screen, which can be helpful.

NPR's Throughline: The Shadows of the Constitution The NPR Politics Podcast

In this special episode NPR's Throughline explore the constitution with Heidi Schreck and her play, What the Constitution Means to Me. They discover what the document is really about – who wrote it, who it was for, who it protected and who it didn't.Connect:Subscribe to the NPR Politics Podcast here.Email the show at nprpolitics@npr.org.Join the NPR Politics Podcast Facebook Group.Listen to our playlist The NPR Politics Daily Workout.Subscribe to the NPR Politics Newsletter.Find and support your local public radio station.
  1. NPR's Throughline: The Shadows of the Constitution
  2. What Happens When Neither Party Gets To Celebrate The Election?
  3. Trump Relents, Paving Way For Biden Transition To Formally Begin
  4. Biden Taps Historic Nominees As He Begins To Fill His Cabinet
  5. Weekly Roundup: November 20th

Writing/Discussion

Citizens United

Turn this into an argumentative essay or a class discussion.

This was always one of my favorites to do because Citizens United confuses me… however the DBQ uses Federalist 10 and the 1st amendment. Plus I like to overarching question: Assess whether the Supreme Court ruled correctly in Citizens United v. FEC in light of constitutional principles including republican government and freedom of speech. Here is the post. I love this lesson because I challenge my students to show me something new. They LOVE that I didn’t know everything and was learning right along with them!


Other Resources

iCivics has a TON of resources, games, lessons, you name it! This is a one stop shop, and can be utilized for all grade levels, even your AP students!

PBS Election Central

Teach and Learn With the 2020 Election– New York Times


Above all, take care of yourself and don’t try to overdo it. Keep it simple, invite students to take charge of their learning, and invite previous curriculum to engage and reinforce.

Elizabeth Evans, NBCT

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