The History of Contested Presidential Elections

This lesson looks at the contested presidential elections occurring in 1800, 1824, 1876 and 2000. Using C-SPAN video clips, students will identify how each election was resolved and the consequences of these elections. They will apply this knowledge by describing similarities and differences between these examples and determining what lessons can be learned from these elections.

Grades 7-12
Executive Branch/Presidency
Interactives

Presidential Transitions

This lesson has students explore the challenges that incoming administrations face during presidential transitions. Students will hear from historians and from White House staff to learn about previous presidential transitions and how the administrations worked together. With this information, students will develop a list of best practices that can be used during these transitions.

Grades 9-12
Executive Branch/Presidency
Interactives

Electoral College Map Virtual Scavenger Hunt

This lesson has students explore C-SPAN’s online Historical Electoral College Map resource to learn about the process, history, and current patterns and trends relating to the Electoral College. This self-guided activity will have students use a series of online Electoral College maps and results from 1900 to 2016 to complete a virtual scavenger hunt. Students will use this resource to analyze maps and data to better understand how the Electoral College works.

Choice Board – How Effective Are Presidential Campaign Ads?

The methods in which candidates, political parties and interest groups promote their positions and policies have evolved since the first television campaign ads aired. In this lesson, students will view videos of historical presidential campaign advertisements and analyze the features found within each to determine the overall effectiveness.

Grades 9-12
Executive Branch/Presidency
Interactives

Ideals of Democracy

The first lesson in our AP Government and Politics course focuses on the philosophical ideals that have shaped the US government. Teachers can use this lesson as a supplemental resource, helping students digest difficult philosophical texts and gain a better understanding of the democratic ideals at the heart of the US government.

Strengthening Democracy in America

Strengthening Democracy in America is a collection of free courses featuring video interviews with noted scholars. These courses will deepen your understanding of the American political system and your rights and responsibilities in it. The first two courses provide a framework for understanding the history and development of the system. Subsequent courses focus on its strengths and weaknesses and means of enhancing the strengths and diminishing the weaknesses. The courses are open to anyone and can be completed at your own pace.

Grades 10, 11, 12
Foundations of Democracy
Books

Major Events of the Cold War

In this lesson, students will use short video clips to learn about major events occurring during the Cold War, the causes of these events, and their impact on the U.S., Soviet Union, and the world. Students will summarize this information by providing a written response that analyzes the legacy of the Cold War.

The Red Scare and McCarthyism

This lesson provides an overview of events such as the Rosenberg trials, blacklisting in Hollywood and the rise and decline of McCarthyism. Students will use information gathered from short C-SPAN video clips to summarize the government’s actions during that time and evaluate the appropriateness of these actions.