With 2nd grade I read the book Duck for President, a cute story which is a good lead-in to discussion about how the best campaigner is not necessarily the best qualified to actually do the job. Here are their thoughts about voting --
Our 5th grade students are learning about the election using a fabulous webquest, Meet the Candidates, designed by Karen Kliegman. We have been researching six major issues of the campaign: Iraq, Homeland Security, environment, economy, education and healthcare. After dividing the class and having them research the issues from both sides, we had presentations and discussion. The discussion was lively and involved. Some of the students are quite impressive in their background knowledge.
Our next step is to create an online survey to find out which issues are most important to those in our school community. Then we will be learning about political ads, and the kids will be creating their own political ads. We will be posting our work, including results from our survey, student-created political ads and whatever else we do, on our Vote5thGrade Wiki. Check out the webquest for links and great teaching ideas.
Google for Educators is also holding a mock election in which your students can cast their votes. Check out their excellent ideas and resources for teaching about the election.
Finally, I wanted to share this video explaining the electoral college. I have always had a hard time understanding this, and this video, in my opinion, does an excellent job of explaining.
Electing a US President in Plain English