Election Day is the second Tuesday of November. How are you planning on incorporating the election into your lesson plans? The Giant Encyclopedia of Monthly Activities has a great election-related activity that allows you to explain the voting process and get children involved in their own classroom election. Learn more about the activity below:

Materials:

What to Do:

  1. Ask your students if they have heard anything about the upcoming election. Explain the election process in simple terms, such as the following: “Every four year, Americans must decide which person will be the leader of the country (the President of the United States). Does anyone know who the president is now?” Some children may know this, so give them time to answer. “Right now, people all over the country are getting ready to choose a new president. They do this by voting. When people vote, they go to the polling place. They go into a booth called a voting booth. In the booth, they choose the name of the person they want to lead the country by writing it down, marking it on a piece of paper, or pushing a button on a computer screen. The votes are all counted and the person who gets the most votes wins.”
  2. Continue by telling the children the following: We can have our own election in the classroom. Since you are too young to vote for the president, let’s vote on something fun, like our favorite dinosaurs. We can all vote, and the dinosaur that wins the election will be our classroom dinosaur for a whole month.”
  3. Ask students to nominate their favorite dinosaur. Limit the nominations to three or four.
  4. Find a drawing or picture of each nominated dinosaur. Place the pictures on a single piece of paper and make a copy for each child.
  5. Ask the children to help decorate a voting booth. Put the three-panel display board on a newspaper-covered surface. Have the children paint one panel red, one panel white, and one panel blue. Explain the colors represent the colors in the American flag. Show the children the flag and post it in a prominent place near the voting booth.
  6. When the paint has dried, have the children decorate the display board with large star stickers, and then set the board aside.
  7. Ask students to cover a shoebox with white construction paper and star and flag stickers. You or another adult need to cut a slot in the top of the box through which the children will put their votes. Tape the top to the box.
  8. Have each child trace and cut out a large circle from poster board. Help them write “I Voted!” on their circles, and then put the circles aside to use later.
  9. Cut out the words “LET’S VOTE” from poster board. Post the letters vertically on the entrance to the room (preferably on the door or on the side of the door frame).
  10. Invite students to make campaign posters for the nominated dinosaurs. Print out a large graphic of each dinosaur and put it at the top of a piece of poster board. Under each picture, help the children write “Vote for (Stegosaurus, T-Rex, Diplodocus, Iguanodon, etc.).” Post these in prominent places around the classroom.
  11. On Election Day, set up the voting booth on a table that is close to a wall to help give children privacy when they vote.
  12. Call the children, one at a time, to vote. Give the child a ballot (the paper with the dinosaur graphics on it). The child circles one dinosaur and then puts the ballot in the shoebox. You can use looped masking tape to stick an “I VOTED” button on children’s shirts after they’ve voted.
  13. After everyone has cast their vote, remove the ballots from the box and have the children sort them. Count each vote with the children. You may want to create a bar graph or table to collect and represent the data.
  14. Declare the dinosaur with the most votes the winner of the election!

Be sure to share the winner of your classroom election with us on Facebook and Twitter!

If you want more tips on teaching children about the voting process, read our “Five Ways You Can Teach Children About the Voting Process” blog post.