Visuals are a great way to help students make connections. To help students better understand the Civil War and secession of the Southern states, I created a large visual of the unions states, confederate states, border states, and territories.
Using the Electoral College Map I created at the beginning of the school year as a template, I re-traced the southern states in grey, the border states in yellow, and used brown paper to cover the various territories that existed in the west. I already had the union states completed because they were the blue states from the electoral college map.
It’s the perfect reference and adds some color to the wall!
For a guide about how to create this map, click here.
I have to admit, I have been excited about this map since the end of last year. This giant map of the United States stayed in my trunk all last year. Its partner, the world map, was proudly hung on my classroom wall all last year. Students labeled the world map at the beginning of the year and used string to draw the equator, prime meridian, and time zones in the continental United States. Throughout the year, we placed current events from around the world on the map, all while the U.S. map stayed in my trunk. Then at the end of last year, I finally thought of what to do lwith the U.S. map! I was going to make a giant map of the 2016 election results. Every state was traced in both blue and red and then laminated.
Below are step by step pictures of how I made the map and the final result.
The completed map. Students’ predictions are along the top and side of the map. Numbers are written with expo marker because it easily wipes off.
It is finally here and America has elected a new president. My students and I have been talking about this election since last year and we still can’t stop talking about it. All last year, they wanted to know who our next president was going to be, but each political party had to nominate a candidate. First, we discussed how candidates campaign and primary elections. One by one, candidates dropped out of the primary race and we narrowed down the choices. Since both conventions were over the summer, we ended last school year still not knowing who the candidates were. However, once we returned in September, the race to the White House was in full swing.
My students are too young to vote, but that didn’t stop their curious minds. Students asked questions about the candidates as well as the election process. Perhaps they were invested this year since the winner may run for re-election in 2020 – when most of my students will be eligible to vote. All 12 of New Jersey’s congressional representative were eligible for re-election. We spent time learning about why we have 12 congressmen and 2 senators and about the Electoral College. We played an engaging game using Airhead candy and an interactive map from 270towin.com. Fun and interactive classes tend to be the greatest lessons. Next, students made their predictions. Some states were harder to predict than others. In order to make their predictions, we analyzed the results from the 2004, 2008, and 2012.
The day after the election we compared our predictions to the actual results. Yes, we were all surprised, but we looked at the data to see how it all unfolded. Then, we created a giant map to display the results and use as a reference for future lessons. We said we will pay attention to the transition and it will continue to be a topic of discussion; just because the election is over does not mean we don’t stop learning and caring.