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CNN Student News Learning Activity: Vice Presidential Candidates

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  • Students will examine the roles of vice presidents
  • Students will evaluate the qualifications of the current vice presidential candidates
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(CNN Student News) -- Students will examine the roles of vice presidents and evaluate the qualifications of the current vice presidential candidates.


Inform students that Founding Father John Adams served as America's first vice president from 1789 - 1797. Next, read the following statement by Mr. Adams to students and generate a discussion about its meaning: "I am vice president. In this I am nothing, but I may be everything." Then ask: In your opinion, should voters consider the vice presidential candidate when casting their ballots for the presidency? Have each student choose one of this year's vice presidential candidates and conduct research to learn more about his or her views and background. Direct each student to write a paper explaining why this individual should or should not be elected to the position that is "a heartbeat away" from the presidency.

Correlated Standards

Curriculum Standards for Social Studies

Standard II. Time, Continuity and Change: Students will learn about the ways human beings view themselves in and over time.

Standard V. Individuals, Groups and Institutions: Students will explore how groups are formed, what controls and influences them, how they control and influence individuals and culture and how institutions can be maintained or changed.

Standard VI. Power, Authority and Governance: Students will understand the historical development of structures of power, authority and governance and their evolving functions in contemporary U.S. society as well as other parts of the world.

The Curriculum Standards for Social Studies ( are published by the National Council for Social Studies (

Curriculum Standards for Civics and Government

Standard III. How Does the Government Established by the Constitution Embody the Purposes, Values, and Principles of American Democracy?

Public opinion and the behavior of the electorate

Political communication

Political parties, campaigns, and elections

The National Standards for Civics and Government ( are published by the Center for Civic Education (


John Adams, vice president, views, qualifications, Sarah Palin, Joe Biden

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