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Lesson plan: Analysis of a historic presidential election

November 8, 2000
Web posted at: 3:48 PM EST (2048 GMT)

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Students will be able to:

Explain why the 2000 presidential election is too close to call.

Discuss the events that will determine the winner of the presidential election.

Predict how the 2000 election will change the process of electing a president. Standards

National Council for the Social Studies X. Civic Ideals and Practices, grades nine-12

High school students increasingly recognize the rights and responsibilities of citizens in identifying societal needs, setting directions for public policies and working to support individual dignity and the common good. They learn by experience how to participate in community service and political activities and how to use democratic process to influence public policy.

Materials article "Florida holds the key"

Internet access

Suggested time

One class period


1. Ask students how involved they were in Tuesday's elections: If they are old enough, did they vote? If not, did they go to the polls with their parents? Did they watch any political coverage? Discuss their reactions to the fact that the presidential race is still too close to call.

2. Have students read the article "Florida holds the key." Then ask the students:

Why is the 2000 presidential election too close to call?

Why was Gore ready to give a concession speech? Why is Bill Daley, Gore's campaign manager, now saying, "Our campaign continues"?

How is it possible for one candidate to win the popular vote but lose the election? What is happening in Florida? How many electoral votes does Florida have? Who is allowed to be present at the recount? Why did the media originally report Gore as the winner in Florida? Why did the media then say Bush had carried the state? Why is the media now saying it is too close to call ? Does this affect your view of the media's accuracy? What effect did third-party candidates have in this election?

3. Have students write a brief essay predicting how the 2000 presidential election results will change, or not change, the way the president is elected.


Have students share their essays. As a class, vote to determine if a change in election policy is needed. If the class determines it is necessary, develop a procedure to change the way a president is elected.


Body/kinesthetic: Have students create and perform a monologue of a reporter covering the 2000 presidential election.


Musical/rhythmic: Have students write words to music that would retell the story of presidential election night.

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