Electing the President: Who Has the Right to Vote?
English Language Arts Standards - History/Social Studies - Grades 6-8:
Key Ideas and Details:
RH.6-8.1. RH.6-8.2. RH.6-8.3.
Craft and Structure:
RH.6-8.4. RH.6-8.5. RH.6-8.6.
Integration of Knowledge and Ideas:
- HNN backgrounder (assigned for first day;
- Mark Fiore video on Voter ID laws
- The Constitution
- Civil Rights Act
- Voting Rights Act
- literacy tests and poll taxes
Day One and Two: Qualities of Leadership in a President
A. Introduction (Bell Ringer):
I) Have students view the Mark Fiore video on voter ID cards, and consider the questions below:
1) What are the conservative arguments this video claims illustrates to justify voter ID cards?
2) What are the liberal arguments that are imbedded in the videotext?
3) How is this video biased? What are the pros and cons of requiring identification to vote?
Essential Question: Is voting an inalienable right or a privilege?
B. Move to a general discussion of the HNN Backgrounder, and a discussion of what voting represents to the development of our government and society today.
C. How has the privilege of voting change over time?
Have students work in pairs, or groups of three, to read each of the following amendments to the Constitution: the 15th Amendment, the 19th Amendment, and the 26th Amendment, and then create an annotated timeline of the changes over time.
Have students consider the following questions when annotating the changes:
1) Why would such changes be necessary in their respective society?
2) Were there any specific people, or events, that influenced the change?
3) How did the legislation influence the development of society? Was there an increase in voting? Did this legislation allow more people to vote? Explain you answer in some detail.
D. How has the privilege of voting for minority groups been restricted, and then fought for in the twentieth century?
I) Have students read the Internet article on literacy tests and poll taxes and fill in the graphic organizer.
II) Have students view the two videos from the History Channel on the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act and then discuss the importance of the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Bill on minorities and young people. Students should discuss how the two pieces of legislation are inherently linked in the process of protecting the right to vote.
III) Would voter identification laws preserve the privilege or voting?
IV) Discussion Question to Consider: To what extent are young people and minorities inclined to defend their right to vote through public protest in today’s society?
E. Debate the Essential Question: Is Voting a Right or a Privilege?
Using the information and readings discussed throughout the lesson, have students construct arguments, with supporting evidence that considers one of the positions (a right or a privilege). Students should make note to include how their position would impact public policy and the building of an engaged citizenry.
Have students create a Public Service Announcement either supporting or rejecting voter ID laws
Have students write their congressman about voter identification laws.
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