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Envision Blog

New Lesson Plan from Discovery Education: Media and Debates

March 14, 2016
Chase the Race

Discovery Education has partnered with Envision to provide valuable resources for leading your students through the milestones of the 2016 Presidential Election. The series of free, standards-based curriculum includes classroom activities, youth-voice videos and digital tools. These resources will help you make the 2016 U.S. presidential election relevant and approachable for your students, empowering them to become informed, involved members of their communities.

Money, Media and Debates

Today we offer the second in our four-part series from Discovery Education, which includes a video and an engaging student activity plan. Today’s subject: campaign funding and media/communication strategies.

Video: “Getting the Message Out”

In this video, Chase the Race 2016 student reporter Margaret Pfohl joins Bloomberg News White House correspondent, Toluse Olorunnipa to discuss:

  • Media strategies used in presidential campaigns
  • The significant role of fundraising in elections
  • Ways in which debate performances can change the race to the White House

Margaret and Toluse uncover the facts for your students in this engaging 3-minute video. With peers like Margaret sharing the election experience, your students can catch “Race Fever” and engage in the events as they unfold.

Other questions answered in the video:

  • How have candidate media strategies evolved over the years?
  • Where does the money for expensive campaign ads come from?
  • If students aren’t old enough to vote, what can they gain from watching the campaign debates?

View the Video

(Scroll down to Classroom Resources and click on Media & Debates tab)

Classroom Activity: "Vying for Votes"

Designed to be used in conjunction with the "Getting the Message Out" video, this activity explores campaign strategies used by presidential candidates and their impact on voter choices, from the nation’s first campaign video, "I Like Ike," to the introduction of social media. 

Student objectives for this classroom activity:

  • Identify political advertising and campaign strategies used by presidential candidates
  • Analyze campaign materials to determine the strategies in effect
  • Evaluate the impact of political advertising on voter participation
  • Describe how campaigns have changed over time

At the conclusion of this activity, students will be asked to reflect on the overarching question: “To what degree is the American electoral process democratic?”

This activity is primarily designed for high school students, with middle school students as the secondary target audience. The activity takes approximately one class period (45-60 minutes).

All instructions and supporting materials for the activity are available for free download on the Discovery Education Chase the Race in School webpage.

Let Your Voice Be Heard

We’re adding more educator resources every month, so check back often to get the latest. Don’t forget to watch our live coverage of key campaign events, at!

(Scroll down to Classroom Resources and click on Media & Debates tab)

Are your students involved? We’d love to hear from you – and them! We’re currently seeking Guest Bloggers


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