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        Part of James Baker: The Man Who Made Washington Work
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        Presidential Election Process: Lesson Plan | James Baker: The Man Who Made Washington Work

        Explore the 1988 presidential election, and examine Baker's role in Bush's campaign.

        Lesson Summary

        Students will examine the presidential election process established by the United States Constitution. Students will then analyze the 2000 presidential election as a case study of this process.

        Time Allotment

        2 days.

        Learning Objectives

        Students will be able to:

        • Describe the Electoral College process.
        • Identify major events in the 2000 presidential election.
        • Explain James Baker’s role in the 2000 presidential election.

        Supplies

        Introductory Activity

        Part I: The Electoral College Process

        1. Explain to students that they will examine how the election process for U.S presidents works. The teacher can also explain that after students have a good understanding of the Electoral College process, they will examine the 2000 presidential election.
        2. Introduce the election process by showing the “Flocabulary” rap song video about the presidential election process.
          The Presidential Election

          Note: You will need to sign up for a free trial to view the video.

          Because students are often confused about what an “Electoral College” is, the teacher should also show a video clip from the National Archives that explains what the Electoral College is and what electors are.
          What is the Electoral College?

          As needed, use the U.S. Electoral College Teaching Resources to reinforce understanding of the Electoral College process.

        3. Ask students to explain the difference between the popular vote and the Electoral College vote.

        Part II: The 2000 Presidential Election

        1. Explain to students that the 2000 presidential election was the closest election since 1876 and only the fourth election in which the electoral vote did not reflect the popular vote.
        2. Introduce the 2000 election by showing the Presidential Election Process video clip.

        Learning Activities

        Part I: The Electoral College Process

        1. Divide students into small groups, and distribute chart paper and markers. Explain to students that they will conduct a brief research project in order to create a flow chart explaining the presidential election process.
        2. Provide students with textbooks and/or computers with Internet access to conduct their research. Explain to students that they should include at least eight major steps in the presidential election process. Have students use the following resources to get started with their research:
        3. Have students share their charts with the class and post them around the room.
        4. Facilitate a discussion reinforcing understanding of the Electoral College process and the difference between the electoral vote and the popular vote.

        Part II: The 2000 Presidential Election

        1. Because it was such an important election, students will create a presentation explaining the major events of the 2000 election, with a focus on the Electoral College versus the popular vote; the recounts in Florida; James Baker’s role; and the Supreme Court case Bush v. Gore. Have students use the following resources to get started with their research:
          Landmark Cases: Bush v. Gore
          270 to Win: 2000 Presidential Election
          2000 Events Timeline – Post Election
          Election 2000 – C-Span Video
        2. Student presentations may be in the form of, but not limited to, a PowerPoint, a Prezi, a news broadcast or an infographic.
        3. Students will present their final products to the class.

         

        Culminating Activity

        Extension Activity

        Point out to students that the 2000 election was not the only controversial election in U.S. history. The House of Representatives have had to decide several elections. In other cases the winner won the electoral votes, but not the popular votes.

        Explain to students that they will examine in further detail several controversial elections, considering both the positive and negative aspects of the Electoral College. Tell students that they will take a position regarding the future of the Electoral College.

        Students will need computers and Internet access to complete the learning module about the Electoral College.

        Resources

        The Electoral College: Unusual Presidential Elections slideshow

        This brief slideshow highlights three unusual elections:

        • 1824 Jackson v. Adams
        • 1876 Hayes v. Tiden
        • 1888 Harrison v. Cleveland

        For details about each, refer to the following resources:

        Producer:

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