Political Participation - Mending the Constitution

Unit 2


  • Investigate suffrage history for the American electorate
  • Identify personal political ideology
  • Evaluate sources of information for bias and validity
  • Create the ideal presidential candidate

11th Grade Essential Questions:

  • What causes systemic and individual change?
  • What is the role of the individual in creating and sustaining change?
  • What the relationship between the self and a changing world.

Unit Essential Questions:

  • How does the right to vote impact the overall course of the nation through history?
  • How do your personal beliefs translate into political affiliation?
  • What is the role of the individual in the electoral process?
  • How can change in the process impact the outcome?


  • Students will understand how the American president is elected.
  • Students will understand how the different suffrage accomplishments affect the vote
  • Students will understand their own political affiliation.
  • Students will understand how to identify bias in media.
  • Students will understand how to change the constitution.

Students will know . . .

  • the American electoral process is both complicated and unique in its use to select a president.
  • the 21st century media machine is difficult to analyze due to its massive output and potential bias.
  • the value of engaging in the political process at the most basic level and the importance to educate themselves as to the issues and events of the day.
  • amending the US Constitution is a complicated and difficult process.

Students will be able to…

  • Interpret data
  • Predict electoral outcomes based on data
  • Evaluate personal political affiliation
  • Synthesize leadership qualities

Performance Tasks:

  • Benchmark Project (see outline below)
  • Data analysis
  • Home and class reading
  • Reflective blogging
  • Journaling
  • Citizenship Homework

Other Evidence:

Learning Activities:

  • Take Personal Political ideology survey
  • Read US Suffrage history
  • Watch Electing a US President in Plain English
  • Read APHOTUS sections on suffrage
  • Propose solutions to the voting irregularities of 2004
  • Case Study of the election of 1800
  • Spend two hours campaigning for the candidate of your choice or registering voters.
  • Analyze the data and history of the presidential elections and electoral politics
  • Analyze the process for amending the US Constitution

Benchmark Summary

Elections throughout American history have hinged on a number of key factors that result in certain groups controlling the nation.  The current suffrage rights and electoral stipulations beg the question: Is America a real democracy?  Students will evaluate the current means by which we select the President and propose a constitutional amendment to change one aspect of electoral rules that will move the country toward being more democratic (voting age, electoral college configuration, qualifications for voting, conditions upon which citizen may be disenfranchised).  After the group has come to consensus on the language of the amendment the students will begin the process of drafting a position paper that explains the justifications for such an amendment while also identifying which demographic groups will support the change.  In addition, the group will need to produce a written explanation of counter arguments the amendment will encounter and prepare responses.  Following the defining of the amendment and the academic argument, groups will begin the process of preparing a national campaign for passage of the amendment complete with radio or video spots and print advertisements.  The media campaign should be distinctly targeted to appeal to two different American demographic groups.

Essential Questions:

Inquiry: Working with your group:

Research: Working with your group, become an expert on the process of amending the US Constitution.

Collaboration: Use your research to predict the outcome of an election:

Presentation: Make a google site for you final group project.  All portions of the group work should be evident.

Reflection: Each member of your team must post an individual reflection at the end of the project (SLATE):

•    The process

•    The way you handle group dynamics

•    The choices you make in the editing process

•    Your evolving understanding of the electoral process and whether or not the US is a democracy

•    The way to best relay a message to a national audience

State Standards:

 5.1.12 Principles and Documents of Government

Evaluate the importance of the principles and ideals of civic life.

Evaluate the principles and ideals that shape the United States and compare them to documents of government.

Evaluate and analyze the importance of significant political speeches and writings in civic life

5.2.12 Rights and Responsibilities of Citizenship 

Evaluate an individual’s civic rights, responsibilities and duties in various governments.

Evaluate political leadership and public service in a republican form of government.

Analyze how participation in civic and political life leads to the attainment of individual and public goals.

Evaluate what makes a competent and responsible citizen.

5.3.12 How Government Works

Evaluate the roles of political parties in election campaigns.

Evaluate the elements of the election process.

Evaluate how the government protects or curtails individual rights and analyze the impact of supporting or opposing those rights.

Evaluate the impact of interest groups on the political process.

Evaluate the role of media in political life in the United States and explain the role of the media in setting the public agenda.

7.3.12 The Human Characteristics of Places and Regions

Analyze the significance of human activity in shaping places and regions by their political characteristics

8.1. Historical Analysis and Skills Development

Evaluate chronological thinking. Sequential order of historical narrative

Synthesize and evaluate historical sources.

Evaluate historical interpretation of events.

Synthesize historical research.

8.3.12 United States History

Identify and evaluate the political and cultural contributions of individuals and groups to United States history from 1890 to Present.

Identify and evaluate primary documents, material artifacts and historic sites important in United States history from 1890 to Present.

Evaluate how continuity and change has influenced United States history from 1890 to Present. 

Evaluate how continuity and change has influenced United States history from 1890 to Present.