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.