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Introduction Election Day Voting Election of the President Candidates Political Parties Primary Election National Conventions National Conventions - An Inside View Candidates at the Convention The Campaign Polling Places The Electoral College The Electoral Map The Inauguration


Books & Reading

Books & Reading

Primary Election Political Parties Election Day Voting Election of the President Candidates National Conventions National Conventions - An Inside View Candidates at the Convention The Campaign Polling Places The Electoral College The Electoral Map The Inauguration

The Campaign

All Aboard the Campaign Train!
Lesson Plan - Plan a "whistle stop" campaign train trip across the United States. Create slogans, songs, speeches. Use measurements of time and distance.

The Anatomy of a Campaign Ad

Do your students know what goes on when creating an advertisement? Do they know the process or who is involved? Most importantly, how it works? Watch this film perspective and excellent analysis of the production techniques used in commercials that will might show up in this election cycle.

Below are a series of questions to ask your students that encourages personal opinions, relates to costing, media plan, marketing plan, and creative strategy.

1. Can you tell us a little bit about an ad campaign that you feel has been successful?
2. In your opinion, what key factors make an ad campaign successful?
3. Do you feel that campaigns with bigger budgets are more successful than those with smaller budgets?
4. Which advertising medium do you feel is most effective when trying to reach a large audience?
5. What is more important when putting together an ad campaign? The creative strategy or the marketing plan?
6. Do you feel that for an ad campaign to be successful, the ads need to be cohesive with one another?
7. Do you feel that an ad campaign is more, or less successful if they use more than one advertising medium?
8. Objectives will differ from person to person, what do campaign objectives generally try to achieve?
9.What sort of thought process do you go through when creating an ad campaign?

Campaign Ad Critique
Lesson Plan and Activities - Learn a lesson in media literacy!

The 30-Second Campaign
Even in the era of the Internet, TV ads still play an enormous role in presidential elections. Can you trust them? Discuss this article, watch the videos, debate, play games and take quizzes, and visit many informative web links.

The Eye of the Beholder: A Media Literacy Activity
Lesson Plan and Activities - Explore the impact the news media have on shaping perceptions and opinions in general and in their coverage of the presidential campaign.

Meet the Press
Lesson Plan and Activities - Play the roles of candidate, campaign manager, and journalist in this activity.

The Presidential Campaign Game
Lesson Plan and Activities - Experience the workings of the political process and what it takes to manage a political campaign.

President Forever 2008 + Primaries
Are you ready to become the most powerful political leader in the world? Prove it in this definitive political election game. Your campaign will be successful through writing speeches, running ads (including attack ads on opponent), and having a rally. The 2008 election or past elections can be simulated, with multiple players or playing against the computer. There is a demo and a paid version that can be bought online.

The Propaganda Game
The Propaganda Game
is a delightful, highly social game in which players first learn to identify techniques such as: prejudice, casual oversimplification, faulty analogy, tabloid and wishful thinking, hasty generalization, attacking a straw man, appeals to ignorance, emotion, flattery, pity, prestige, folksiness, joining the bandwagon and many, many more. Once players become adept at identifying the techniques exemplified in the humorous examples provided with the game, they graduate to the "expert" level where they gather and create their own examples from the real world or their imagination. The Propaganda Game is a truly wonderful experience in which "who is right" is ultimately less important than the power of your arguments and the assessment of how convinced your fellow players are. Based on the book "Thinking Straighter" by George Henry Moulds, The Propaganda Game strikes a joyful blow for clearer social thinking.

Inoculate yourself, your family and students by learning to identify the many blatant and subtle persuasion techniques used by professionals. Check out The Propaganda Game.

The Road to the Capitol
The National Student and Parent Mock Election, the nation’s oldest, largest, and most successful voter-education project, has created this civic education game.  In The Road to the Capitol, the player role-plays a candidate running for Congress.

What Are the Important Issues?
Lesson Plan and Activities - Determine the most important issue of the current campaign.

Write a Presidential Speech
Plan your speech using the printable worksheet.

Return to Tour

While presidential campaigns traditionally begin after Labor Day, they actual kick off at the nominating conventions held over the summer. Once the conventions have ended, the candidates launch campaigns; some begin even before the conventions.

Surf with Uncle Sam
Surf with Uncle Sam

Word Spy
Word Spy

Projects You Can Do

Where to get collectables:
  • Most collectible memorabilia can be purchased.
  • Find some items on the Internet. Try eBay.
  • Check political party headquarters.
  • Watch at garage sales.

The Dirksen Congressional CenterCopyright 2008