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President Detective. When you are voting for a President… What factors should you consider?. There’s a reality show that anyone 18 and over can play every 4 years . The prize is having the person you think has the best qualifications win the Presidential election. Are you up to the task?

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there s a reality show that anyone 18 and over can play every 4 years
There’s a reality show that anyone 18 and over can play every 4 years.
  • The prize is having the person you think has the best qualifications win the Presidential election.
  • Are you up to the task?
  • You will need to navigate challengessuch as analyzing your preferences, deciding who is telling the truth, understanding complicated issues, and fighting apathy to play President Detective.
analyzing your pictures
Analyzing your pictures
  • Some of you may have had the samepicture of a perfect President. Why?
  • Some of you may have had very different pictures of a perfect President. Why?
    • Stereotypes
      • widely held but fixed and oversimplified images
    • Identity
      • How do you see yourself?
    • Likeability factor
      • Who would you like to go to lunch with?
  • A stereotype is awidely held but fixed and oversimplified image or idea of a particular type of person or thing.
  • There can be stereotypes about many different things such as
    • Age, gender, size, ethnicity, height, disabilities, etc.
    • Political parties- Democrat, Independent, Republican
  • Some political cartoons use stereotypes.
  • The trick is to recognize when you are just accepting astereotype without looking for facts.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt hid the fact that he needed a wheelchair because of polio. He was worried that people would think he would not be a good president because of his disability. FDR is considered one of the United States’s greatest presidents.


  • There are many stereotypes of Democrats and Republicans.
  • Not all Democrats are from California and drive Prius electric cars and not all Republicans are from Texas and drive Ford trucks.
  • Again, the trick is to recognize when you are just accepting the stereotype without looking for facts.
  • While the President must be at least 35 years of age, there have not been many young Presidents and there have not been many very old Presidents. What stereotypes about AGE do you think people may believe?
do the math
Do the Math!
  • Use the 2 web sites below to make a graph/chart of Presidents’ ages at the time they were elected.
  • You can use a spreadsheet program or graph paper.
  • List of Presidents of the United States by age From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Presidents_of_the_United_States_by_age
  • How to Make a Histogram of the Ages of Presidents at Inauguration By Lena Freund, eHow Contributor
  • http://www.ehow.com/how_8018505_make-histogram-ages-presidents-inauguration.html

“What stereotypes do you think come into play that we have not elected many very young or many very old presidents?”

identity and likeability
Identity and Likeability

People may choose a candidate based on which “group” they wish to belong, based on “Who they would like to go to lunch with?”, based on “Who they think has the most in common with them?”, or “Who their friends are voting for?”

Write a paragraph about why these methods may NOT get the best President?

how has social media played an important role in how presidential candidates are perceived
How has Social Media played an important role in how Presidential candidates are perceived?
  • Internet, TV and radio ads are very important.
      • In 1960, during the first televised Presidential debate, appearance played an important part.
      • Richard Nixon looked ill at ease and was sweating. Many people didn’t vote for him because he didn’t “look” what their opinion of a President should look like.
      • How does television today play an important role during debates?
    • Critique of Nixon during the JFK vs. Nixondebate http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MIdsQACxzN4
  • Negative campaigns and many times false facts go “viral” on the Internet. If people hear something enough they assume it is true?
  • Are you aware that your facts are being limited?Google and other sites are only showing you things you want to see. if you click on Democrat point of view news stories that is all you will see, if you click on Republican point of view news stories that is all you will see.
    • Why can this narrow view be bad for the country?
why is researching presidential candidates like a reality game
Why is researching Presidential candidates like a reality game?

Just like everything on a reality show is NOT always true, some of the political ads you will hear on the radio, see on television or read on the Internet will NOT always contain correct facts. It will be your responsibility to discover what is true and what is not true. You will be a President Detective.


checking your sources of information
Checking your sources of information!
  • NEVER use just 1 source to get your information! The more the better!

There are also fact checking sites you can use to find out if something is true or false such as http://www.snopes.com/politics/politics.asp

is it a reliable source
Is it a reliable source?

Ask yourself…

  • Is it a candidate’s website or someone’s blog?
  • Is it a news site or are they trying to sell books?
be a president detective
Be a President Detective
  • Homework assignment- Watch television, surf the Internet, or read a newspaper to find a political ad and then fact check it.
before even looking at the candidates you need to decide which issues are important to you
Before even looking at the candidates you need to decide which issues are important to you.
  • It is important to remember that the issues you choose as important may not be what the student next to you chooses as important issues.
  • That’s ok. Everyone has different opinions. You need to be respectful and listen to each other’s opinions.
you may think prioritizing issues may be easy but it is a lot harder than it looks
You may think prioritizing issues may be easy, but it is a lot harder than it looks.

Unlike multiple choice tests, issues have no right or wrong answer; it all depends on what YOUbelieve is best for you, your city, your state, and your country. Sometimes what is best for you may not be what is best for your neighbor.

lets take a look at the keystone xl extension pipeline issue
Lets take a look at the Keystone XL extension pipeline issue.
  • http://30.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lqpmogDRMF1qd9bz1o1_500.jpg

Factors to consider:

  • While this decision will not be decided until 2013, the Presidential candidates have different views of what should happen.
  • Deciding on this issue depends on which of the following items YOU think are most important: the environment, the creation of jobs, the economy or national defense.
the environment
The environment…

You may have protecting the environment as your top issue. If there is a break in the proposed pipeline critical water supplies would be polluted. Crops could be damaged and people could get sick.

However, the Keystone pipeline is not first oil pipeline in the US and the safety issues have been minor so far.

So while it may seem easy to say I will vote for the person who wants to stop it, one must consider that the economy is very bad right now.

Current oil pipelines in US



jobs and the economy
Jobs and the Economy

People are losing their jobs and their homes. Students are homeless.

If the pipeline is built thousands of families would have jobs and money for homes or apartments again. It may help the economy by lowering gas prices so people spend less money getting to work.

There has been debates if the number of pipeline jobs are accurate. There has also been questions about gasoline prices being lowered because the pipeline gasoline could be sold to other countries.

  • If a strong defense is an important issue for you then you will have to decide how you feel about the pipeline. Having it built will make sure we have oil if a current event happens to stop the flow of oil to our country (like Iran blockading the Strait of Hormuz), however, there is only so much oil and if we tap it now we may not have enough oil ten years from now when we may critically need it for another crisis (like China stockpiling oil for their economy).
newspaper editorial
Newspaper Editorial
  • Prioritize which issues (environment, jobs, economy or defense) are the most important to you.
  • Write a four paragraph newspaper editorial explaining WHY you are for or against the Keystone pipeline.
  • The first paragraph will be an introduction paragraph explaining your position on the issue.
  • The second paragraph will be about which issue (environment, jobs, economy or defense) is the most important to you and why it helped you make your decision.
  • The third paragraph will be about which issue (environment, jobs, economy or defense) is the least important to you and why you are not considering it to make your decision.
  • The last paragraph will be a conclusion paragraph, where you will try to convince others that they should share your view or what action you would like them to take about the issue.
list of some campaign issues
List of some campaign issues

You will never find a candidate that has exactly the same opinions you do on ALL of these campaign issues. So you will need to prioritize the issues, decide which ones are most important to you. Then you will need to see where each candidate stands on the issues.

Choosing a Presidential candidate is a lot of work, but you want to make sure the best person wins.

  • Civil rights
  • Defense
    • Iraq, Afghanistan
    • North Korea
    • Iran-nuclear weapons
    • China- human rights
    • Terrorism
    • Patriot act- civil liberties- homeland security- airport rage
    • Cuba
  • Education- No Child Left Behind, school vouchers
  • Environment-pipeline, offshore drilling, global warming, energy
  • Gun control vs Gun rights
  • Health care- repeal of new law, social security/Medicare
  • Immigration
  • Jobs/economy, trade issues, minimum wage
  • Other issues- too many to list
  • Religion- stem cells etc.
  • Role of government, budget deficit, taxes, business regulations

Be a President Detective- Which issues are most important to you? Name: ____________________________________________Please note there are hundreds of issues. This is only a small sample of issues. There is a blank space at the bottom of the worksheet in case your most important issue is not listed. Don’t just place a checkmark for the “very important topics” make sure you write down the topic.

Choose the most important issue for you and circle it. Write a paragraph about why it is your most important issue. Use complete sentences.

  • Apathy- lack of interest, enthusiasm, or concern.
  • Identity- the distinct personality of an individual.
  • Peer pressure- influence from one's friends.
  • Point of view (POV)- aparticular way of seeing things.
  • Preferences- liking something.
  • Prioritizing- deciding what item is most important.
  • Reliable- trustworthy.
  • Social Media- internet, Facebook, etc.
  • Stereotype- a widely held but oversimplified belief.
additional resources
Additional Resources
  • “Red state, blue state, rich state, poor state- Why Americans Vote the Way They Do” by Andrew Gelman especially pages 16, 26, 84, 139, 140, 145, and 168
  • Young people and voting influenced by their parents http://ase.tufts.edu/polsci/faculty/portney/studentGross.pdf
additional lesson plans
Additional Lesson Plans
  • Lesson plans from PBS http://www.pbs.org/elections/kids/educators.html
  • Voting on a few issues http://pbskids.org/democracy/vote/castvote.html
  • Identifying Major IssuesIn this lesson, students will analyze major issues in the current Presidential campaign. Additionally, they will identify individuals or groups affected by each issue and compare candidates' political stances. identifying major issues http://www.pbs.org/elections/kids/lessons/lesson_plan2.html
  • CSPAN video kid contest http://www.studentcam.org/
  • Script idea lesson http://www.pbs.org/elections/kids/lessons/lesson_plan12.htmlhttp://www.pbs.org/elections/kids/docs/script.pdf
  • Political ads lesson plan http://www.pbs.org/newshour/extra/teachers/lessonplans/socialstudies/Vote2004/political_commercials.html