The Electoral College - Arizona Geographic Alliance

The Electoral College
Dennis Rees
Arizona Geographic Alliance
Grade 8 and High School
2 Class Periods
The Constitution of the United States outlines
the process of how the president is elected.
Students need to be aware of this process
because they are the voters of the future.
In this lesson students will learn how the
members of the electoral college are
determined, how the electoral college
operates, and its effect on presidential
National Geography Standards
Element One: The World In Spatial Terms
1. How to Use Maps and Other Geographic
Representations, Tools, and Technologies to
Acquire, Process, and Report Information From
a Spatial Perspective.
Arizona Geography Strand
Concept 1: The World in Spatial Terms
Grade 8
PO 1 Construct maps, charts, and graphs to
display geographic information.
High School
PO 2 Interpret maps and images.
Concept 6: Geographic Applications
Grade 8
PO 3 Use geographic knowledge and skills (e.g.
recognizing patterns, mapping, graphing) when
discussing current events.
High School
PO 1 Analyze how geographic knowledge, skills,
and perspectives (e.g. use of Geographic
Information Systems in urban planning,
reapportionment of political units, locating
businesses) are used to solve contemporary
Other Arizona Standards
Strand 3: Civics/Government
Grade 8
Concept 2: Structure of Government
PO 3 Explain the electoral process (e.g. primary and
general elections, electoral college).
PO 4 Explain how a candidate can be elected
president (e.g. Adams-Jackson, Hayes-Tilden, BushGore) without a majority of popular vote.
High School
Concept 2: Structure of Government
PO 6 Analyze the structure, powers, and roles
of the executive branch of the United States
d. Election of the president through the
nomination process, national conventions, and
electoral college.
Strand 1: American History
Concept 4: Revolution and New Nation
Grade 8
PO 6 Describe how one nation evolved from
thirteen colonies:
a. Constitutional Convention
High School
PO 4 Analyze how the new national
government was created:
c. Constitutional Convention
ELA Common Core Standards
Reading Standards for 6-8 for Literacy in
History/Social Studies
Key Ideas and Details
6-8.RH.2 Determine the central ideas or conclusions of
a text; provide an accurate summary of the text
distinct from prior knowledge or opinions.
6-8.RH.3 Identify key steps in a text’s description of a
process related to history/social studies (e.g. how a
bill becomes law, how interest rates are raised or
11-12 Reading Standards for Literacy in
History/Social Studies
Key Ideas and Details
11-12.RH.2 Determine the central ideas or
information of a primary or secondary source;
provide an accurate summary that makes clear
the relationships among the key details and
The student will be able to:
1. describe how the electoral college is
2. describe how the electoral college is used to
elect the president.
3. analyze how the electoral college affected
the results of presidential elections in 1824,
1876, 1888, and 2000.
•The Electoral College handout
•Electoral College Worksheet and Answer Key
•United States (with state names) map
•United States (with state names and electoral
votes) map
•Electoral College Quiz and Answer Key
•Teacher Key for Maps
Session One
1. Distribute The Electoral
College handout. Instruct
students that while reading the
handout, they are to highlight or
underline important information
on how the electoral college is
determined, its function in
presidential elections, and any
effects the Electoral College had
on elections. Then, as a class,
read and discuss the handout.
2. After finishing the reading and discussion,
distribute the Electoral College Worksheet and the
United States (with state names) map.
Instruct students they are to do Question 1 on the
worksheet and complete the coloring of the map;
when done, they are to come get the United States
(with state names and electoral votes) map to
complete Question 2 and the coloring of that map.
When this is completed, they are to continue working
on the worksheet using the Electoral College Handout
as a reference. This may be done as homework.
3. Collect the maps if you wish to use them as an
Session Two
1. Collect the Electoral
College Worksheet if
you wish to use it as
an assessment.
2. Review the material
from the Electoral
College Handout.
3. Distribute Electoral
College Quiz and have
students complete it.
Collect the quiz as
they finish as it is used
as an assessment.
•The Electoral College Quiz is used to assess American History
and Civics; the Teacher Answer Key is provided. Eight out of ten
points or 80% is considered mastery.
•The Electoral College Worksheet may be assessed for
American History and Civics; the Teacher Answer Key is
provided. Twenty-four out of twenty-nine points or 80% is
considered mastery.
•Using the Teacher Key for Maps, the United States (with state
names) map and United States (with state names and electoral
votes) map may be assessed for a Geography grade. Sixteen out
of twenty points or 80% is considered mastery.
•Students could create a power point which explains the
electoral college.
•Using Glogster ( students could
create a poster describing the electoral college.
•Students could create historical maps showing the electoral
college results for the election of 1824, 1876, 1888, or 2000.
•Divide students into groups and give each group either a
regional map or list of states with each state’s electoral votes.
Then have each group create a cartogram of their region and
report their results to the rest of the class. The class could then
discuss if there is a region or regions that carry more weight
due to their electoral votes.
•Students could research to find out if there were ever any
elections where an elector did not vote as pledged and if it
affected the outcome of the election.
•As a writing activity, student could compose a persuasive
essay on one of these topics:
1.The Electoral College works very well.
2.The Electoral College needs to be revised.
3.The Electoral College should be replaced with a new
This could be a collaborative or independent activity,
and could be assessed using this criteria:
1.Essay has a good topic sentence.
2.Essay has relevant supporting details.
3.Essay has a strong conclusion.