Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Make a Presidential Campaign ad

Here's an extension to an already terrific lesson plan from PBS NewsHour Extra.  That lesson plan ("Lights, Camera, Politics: Create Your Own Presidential Campaign Ad") invites students to create a TV ad for a candidate running for president in 2016.  It relies on students using the archives at the incomparable Living Room Candidate website.
How about: Have students follow the exact same steps (investigate and discuss ads from the television era, starting in 1952), but then create an ad for a candidate running for president in the pre--television era?

Adaptation: Have students choose from among these elections:
  • Election of 1800 (the electoral tie)
  • Election of 1824 (the corrupt bargain)
  • Election of 1860 (4 major candidates; Lincoln wins with under 40% of the popular vote)
  • Election of 1876 (the Electoral Commission)
  • Election of 1896 (William Jennings Bryan and the Cross of Gold)
  • Election of 1912 (4-major candidates; Wilson wins over Taft, TR and the Bull Moose Party, and Debs)
  • Election of 1948 ("Dewey defeats Truman" [or does he?] after the Dixiecrat walkout) (Okay, Truman wins)
Once they choose an election, the students make two ads (one each by opposing candidates) addressing a common issue that was important during that campaign.  The students can upload their videos to YouTube, where they can be shared with their classmates.

Extension: Have students show their ads on their devices as students circulate through the class in a gallery walk activity.  Students can tweet their reaction to the ads to a common hashtag, or comment on them directly on the YouTube site.


Amy O'shea said...

This is such a great idea for an assignment!

Eric Tate said...

As a future educator, this is a very innovative and fun activity! Thanks!