The Situation Room: The Sometimes Confusing Case of Elections

Jeff Joyce, Social Studies, W.A. Hough High School




In AP Government class, students are required to study voting and voters in these kinds of ways. They are to study the election process and what candidates have done over the course of American History to get elected. They are to study campaigns in our history and what the similarities and differences are among them. They also learn about things like voting patterns, polling data, and voter demographics. They must study political socialization and media influence. What I propose is a unit where students do case comparative studies of some of the more interesting elections in our history as a means for meeting curricular requirements. My aim in this unit is to first describe, in short form, what those requirements are, then give readers several examples as case studies from some of the more interesting elections in our history. I have chosen particular examples to explore as a way of creating a model for teachers who may want to use the unit with their students; teachers could choose other elections, but use the same model for analysis. Ultimately, students will find their own answers to the big question associated with this project- what causes do we associate with election results?