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30-60 minutes
  • Current Events
  • Elections
  • Politics
  • 5-12

  1. Share this excerpt from the Supreme Court decision in Evenwel v. Abbott (2016): “As the Framers of the Constitution and the Fourteenth Amendment comprehended, representatives serve all residents, not just those eligible to vote. Nonvoters have an important stake in many policy debates and in receiving constituent services.”
  2. Discuss how government decisions impact voters and nonvoters. Then consider ways students can advocate for causes before they are eligible to vote. (Tweet your representative, sign an online petition, etc.)
  3. Explain that they will identify issues they care about. Tell students: your ultimate goal is to make their representatives – and presidential candidates – know what they need to do to serve you.
  4. Ask students to define a political party plank (a statement that shows your position on a social or political issue). Seek examples they’ve heard about in recent or current election cycle. Examples include:
    • Increase funding for job training and placement services for military personnel to help them find jobs after they leave the service.
    • Strengthen background checks for those purchasing a firearm to decrease gun violence.
  5. Distribute and complete the worksheet.

Build Your Political Platform worksheet (download), one per student or pair of students.

In small groups or as a class, ask students to share and discuss their platforms. Prompts include:

  • Which platforms did you find most persuasive?
  • What choices did the authors make that were especially effective?
  • What issues were most and least common? Ex: economy, immigration, etc.

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