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Monday Morning Ready09.09.2016
Jumpstart Your Week!

In January 1955 in Hardin County, Texas, Leo Carr had to pay $1.50 to vote. That receipt for Carr's "poll tax" now resides in the collections of the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture. In today's dollars, Carr paid roughly $13.... < read more >
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
Grade 3-4

Would you pay an entire day's wages to vote in an election? Why or why not?

Grade 5-6

Do you think people should have to provide proper identification and proof of citizenship to vote in an election? Why or why not?

Grade 7-8

In the article, Lena Carr says a lot of young people don't realize what people in previous generations had to go through to vote. Do you agree with Carr? Why or why not?

Grade 9-10

According to the article, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said that the purpose of that state's voter ID law was "to protect the voting process in Texas." How do you think requiring a particular type of identification would do that? Do you agree with former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder that the law is a poll tax? Why or why not?

LESSON PLAN
Create a Quiz-Style Game

PROCESS:

  1. Have students conduct research to learn more about the U.S. Constitution. Encourage them to take detailed notes about how changes to the Constitution, including the evolution of voting rights, have affected different parts of the population.
  2. Rejoin as a class. Invite students to share what they learned. 
  3. As a class, brainstorm a list of quiz-style games. Encourage students to recognize both board games and game shows that they've seen on TV.
  4. Challenge students to design a board game or a game show about the Constitution. The only requirements are that the information the game presents is factual and that the game, in some way, helps players understand that laws must be fair.

ASSESSMENT: 

Invite classmates to participate as students share their games with the class. Instruct students to identify what they liked best about each game. Discuss how each game helped players understand that laws must be fair.

CUSTOMIZE THE LESSON:   

Grades 3-4:
Investigate the history of the U.S. Constitution as a class. Then divide the class into small groups. Instruct each group to create a board game related to the Constitution. The only supplies they are allowed to use are pencils, paper and glue.

Grades 5-6:
Divide the class into small groups. Have groups investigate the U.S. Constitution. Then instruct each group to create a game based on the Constitution. If groups choose to create a board game, the only supplies they are allowed to use are pencils, paper and glue. If they choose to design a game show, they must write a five-minute script in which classmates are invited to participate in their show.

Grades 7-8:
Divide the class into pairs. Instruct pairs to conduct research to learn more about the U.S. Constitution and how laws, including voting rights, have changed over time. Then have partners design a game show based on what they've learned. Instruct partners to create a diorama depicting their program's set and to write a five-minute script in which classmates are invited to participate in their show.

Grades 9-10:
Divide the class into pairs. Instruct pairs to conduct research to learn more about the U.S. Constitution and how laws, including voting rights, have changed over time. Then have partners design a board game or a game show based on what they've learned. The premise of the game must depict how changes to laws can affect different parts of the population. Give students time to create a prototype for a board game or to write a 10-minute script in which classmates are invited to participate in a game show.

SMITHSONIAN RESOURCES
Civil Issues and Design
In this teacher-created lesson from the Cooper-Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, students discuss and debate the effectiveness of methods used to resolve civil issues in the past, identify current civil issues in their school and propose solutions to those problems in an essay.

Got the Vote? Voter Registration Advertising & Design
In this lesson from the National Museum of American History, students apply lessons learned from analyzing advertising messages and techniques to create their own advertisement/design that will inspire youth to exercise their right to vote.

Oh Freedom! Teaching African American Civil Rights Through American Art at the Smithsonian
This interactive website, provided by the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, offers fresh ways of teaching about the Civil Rights Movement by making connections between history and art.

Should the Constitution Be Scrapped?
Read this Smithsonian article to learn why author Louis Michael Seidman thinks that arguing about the constitutionality of laws and reforms is the cause of our harsh political discourse.

Winning the Vote: How Americans Elect Their President
Use this Smithsonian lesson to introduce students to the office of the presidency and the informal process of electing the president. Students will examine political campaigns, political parties and the Electoral College.
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