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Political Parties Lesson Plan

Instructor: Dana Dance-Schissel

Dana teaches social sciences at the college level and English and psychology at the high school level. She has master's degrees in applied, clinical and community psychology.

Take your instruction on political parties to another level with the help of a Study.com video lesson and a fun and interactive group activity. To take this topic further, consider making use of the supplementary activities and related lessons provided.

Learning Objectives:

Upon completion of this lesson, students will be able to:

  • define 'political party'
  • compare and contrast political parties
  • analyze the candidates and platforms of the political parties

Length

1 to 1.5 hours

Curriculum Standards

  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.9-10.4

Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including vocabulary describing political, social, or economic aspects of history/social science.

  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.9-10.9

Compare and contrast treatments of the same topic in several primary and secondary sources.

Instructions

  • Ask students to define 'political party.' As they offer definitions, write them on the board.
  • Now play the Study.com video lesson Political Party: Definition, Function, Organization & Mobilization, pausing at 00:32.
  • Did the student definitions match the definition presented in the video lesson? If not, have them fill in the missing information as you add it to the board.
  • Now ask students to raise their hands if they are Democrats. Write the word 'Democrat' on the board and tally the number of students who identified as such. Now have them raise their hands if they are 'Republican.' Write the word 'Republican' on the board and again tally the number of students who identified as such. Were there any students who did not raise their hands? If so, ask them why and place them in a neutral category on the board. Ask the other students to explain why they are Democrats or Republicans, writing their reasons on the board underneath the appropriate category.
  • Play the video lesson again, pausing at 2:44.
  • Now have the students reevaluate their reasons for identifying with a specific political party that are listed on the board based on the information provided in the video lesson. Is there anything missing? If so, what? Did the students have reasons that were not mentioned in the video lesson? If so, why?
  • Play the remainder of the video lesson.
  • Now have students divide up according to the political party affiliation they expressed earlier. Each group should spend some time researching the political candidates that their party has endorsed over the previous five years. They should also select three issues that were of importance to the party during this time period.
  • Ask the students to present what they have learned about their respective political parties to the class.
  • Now ask students if any have changed their mind in terms of political party affiliation. If so, why?

Discussion Questions

  • Should an individual fluctuate in terms of political party affiliation?
  • What happens if a person agrees with the some of the positions of both parties?

Extensions

  • Have students run a mock election in class with students divided across party lines.
  • Ask students to survey their parents and relatives on political party affiliation. Have them ask each person why they identify with that particular party. Students should report their findings to the class.

Related Lessons

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