Teaching the Upcoming Midterm Elections

The election season is a great time of year to explore civic engagement and the importance of voting with your students.

As November 2nd approaches, Virginia’s teachers begin to ponder the best way to teach the upcoming elections. Although not as exciting as presidential elections, midterms are just as important. After all, local elections often have a greater impact on the daily lives of Virginians.

Whether a kindergarten or high school teacher, eMediaVA has a variety of resources to introduce voting and the elections process to learners of all ages. Younger children will enjoy learning from Queen Sara and King Friday from Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood explaining how voting works to Daniel Tiger and his friends in this video clip.

eMediaVA has a pre-compiled collection for middle and high schoolers specifically. This collection includes videos, lesson plans, and interactives entitled How Voting Works. The brief video clips are excellent conversation starters for students. Imagine a lively debate on whether sixteen-year-olds should be allowed to vote. What about twelve-year-olds?

Older students will enjoy exploring the How Voting Laws Have Changed interactive and discovering state-by-state analysis of voting laws as they pertain to early voting, felons, absentee voting, and voter ID requirements between the 2010 and 2014 elections. After discussing the impact states have on national elections, encourage your students to research Virginia’s voting requirements, comparing with the requirements of another state, like Georgia.

There is always the option to explore the struggle for suffrage using She Resisted: Strategies of Suffrage, an interactive on eight strategies women suffragists used to gain the right to vote. Or explore the black struggle for suffrage with a comparison between the 15th Amendment and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

How are you teaching the elections this November? Let us know in the eMediaVA teachers’ Facebook group, or by using #emediava on social!

Anne Walker is an eMediaVA Ambassador and teaches Civics and Economics at Benton Middle School in Prince William County Public Schools.  She is an active member of the Virginia Council for Social Sciences and an NCSS committee member.

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