This lesson features the history of political polling in the United States going back to the 19th century and the development and use of polling since then.
The process of redistricting, or redrawing congressional and state legislative boundaries, often becomes politicized. Drawing district lines to create partisan advantages and disadvantages is a tactic known as gerrymandering. Examine interactive resources to explore how changing district lines can affect the balance of partisan power, and evaluate criteria for drawing district lines.
Reapportionment and Redistricting
The United States conducts a constitutionally mandated census every 10 years. This count has numerous effects, and one of the most important is its impact on our representative democracy. Reapportionment and redistricting, in turn, affect how and by whom the people are represented.
The Battle for Votes: Gerrymandering
Every decade, states engage in redistricting – the redrawing of congressional and state legislative boundaries – after the release of new census data. This process often becomes politicized, with district lines drawn to create partisan advantages and disadvantages, a tactic known as gerrymandering.
Monthly Civics Themes
The Rendell Center has developed monthly themes designed to build basic civic knowledge, promote civic engagement, and provide practice in democratic deliberation. Each month offers an experiential learning opportunity for K-12 students to examine and discuss a new civics topic, with questions and activities designed to help them better understand the concept.
Just Vote: Youth Registration Campaign
This lesson supports young people as they design, create, and implement their own voter preregistration campaigns. Students will consider some reflection questions, learn more about voting as they consider what to include in their campaigns, study examples of past voter registration campaigns, and apply what they’ve learned to create campaigns that engage current and future voters to participate in the democratic process. First, help students reflect on the role of voting in the democratic process, using questions that connect to their prior knowledge about voting. Then, through the series of worksheets that follow, have students learn relevant vocabulary, analyze challenges voters face today, examine past successful voting campaigns, and create their new campaigns. After students launch their campaigns, consider creating a way for the class to track their success as a group.
Lesson Plan: How States Redistrict – The Case of 2022
This lesson plan explores the Congressional and state redistricting processes in several states, including Texas, Florida, Colorado, Montana, Oregon, North Carolina, Michigan, Pennsylvania, New York, California, Illinois, Ohio, and West Virginia. The lesson extends to the legislative, executive, and judicial processes as well as the geographic and demographic considerations of redistricting.
Bell Ringer: Ranked Choice Voting
This bell ringer explores ranked choice voting and how it can be used as a tool to reduce political polarization.
Should the Federal Government Regulate States’ Election Procedures?
Students will be able to identify and explain aspects of the election regulation debate, including its potential impact on voter turnout, election transparency, and voting equity.
Voting Rights in America Timeline
Supplement your students’ understanding of voting rights in the United States with this free downloadable timeline. This visual guide breaks down the history of voting rights across identities, and gives context to efforts to expand and limit voting access over time, through the lenses of our three branches of government and our federal system.