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CNN Classroom Edition: Sarah Palin Revealed

  • Story Highlights
  • Students will learn about Gov. Sarah Palin
  • Students will investigate the office of the U.S. vice president
  • Students will analyze the qualifications of the current vice presidential candidates
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(CNN Student News) -- Record the CNN Presents Classroom Edition: Sarah Palin Revealed when it airs commercial-free on October 13, 2008, from approximately 4:10-- 5:00 a.m. ET on CNN. (A short feature begins at 4:00 a.m. and precedes the program.)

Teachers: Please note that a Classroom Edition of the companion program, Joe Biden Revealed, is scheduled to air on October 20, 2008, from approximately 4:10-- 5:00 a.m. ET on CNN. Curriculum materials for Joe Biden Revealed are available at

Program Overview

Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, the state's youngest and first female governor, has been a television sports reporter, a commercial fisherman, a city council member and a mayor. Now she is the Republican nominee for U.S. vice president. CNN correspondent Drew Griffin interviews Palin's family members, friends, colleagues and challengers to learn about the events that have shaped her life and career.

Grade Level: 6-12

Subject Areas: Civics, Forensics

Objectives: The CNN Presents Classroom Edition: Sarah Palin Revealed and its corresponding discussion questions and activity challenge students to:

  1. Examine the life and professional accomplishments of Gov. Sarah Palin;
  2. Investigate the office of the U.S. vice president;
  3. Analyze the qualifications of the current vice presidential candidates.

Curriculum Connections

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?

  1. Public opinion and the behavior of the electorate
  2. Political communication
  3. Political parties, campaigns, and elections

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

Discussion Questions

  1. What are the responsibilities of the U.S. vice president?
  2. What qualities do you look for in a U.S. vice presidential candidate? Are these qualities the same as those you would look for in a U.S. presidential candidate? Explain.
  3. Does a vice presidential candidate's qualifications have any bearing on who you would support for president? Why or why not?
  4. Who is Sarah Palin?
  5. According to the program: What were some of Palin's experiences before she entered politics? How did Palin break into politics? What political positions has she held?
  6. According to the show: What have been some of Palin's political accomplishments? What challenges has she faced during her political career?
  7. Why do you think that Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain picked Gov. Palin as his running mate?
  8. Why do you think that CNN reporter Drew Griffin describes Gov. Palin as "the unlikeliest of candidates"? Do you agree or disagree with this statement? Explain.
  9. How many female vice presidential candidates have there been in the history of the United States? Are you surprised by this statistic? Why or why not? Do you think that having a female vice presidential candidate will have an impact on this year's election? If so, how? If not, why not?
  10. Sarah Palin has described herself as a "fiscal conservative." What does this term mean? Based on the information in the program, would you categorize Gov. Palin as a fiscal conservative? State your rationale.
  11. What have been some public reactions to Palin's candidacy, as discussed in the program?
  12. What challenges, if any, do you think that Palin might face during the 2008 election? If you were Palin's campaign advisor, what advice might you have for her as the race progresses?

Post Viewing Discussion Questions

Teachers: Use these Discussion Questions after viewing both the Sarah Palin and Joe Biden Revealed programs.

  1. In your opinion, do Gov. Sarah Palin and Sen. Joe Biden have any similar characteristics? If so, what are they? How might these characteristics serve a vice presidential candidate during a presidential election?
  2. What new information did you learn about the vice presidential candidates from these documentaries?
  3. Did these documentaries change your opinion about either or both of the vice presidential candidates? If so, how? If not, why not?
  4. If you were a presidential candidate, who would you have selected as a running mate and why?
  5. Who do you think will be the next vice president of the United States? State your rationale.

Suggested Activity

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.


vice president, U.S. Constitution, debate, Gov. Sarah Palin, Sen. Joe Biden, election, fiscal conservative, Washington insider

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