Lesson Plans

1950 to Present

Electoral College Policy Brief to the Virginia Governor

Students will be placed in groups of three to write policy briefs to the Virginia Governor on the following topics: history and process of the Electoral College, role of the Governor in Electoral College, and Pros and Cons of the Electoral College. After students have been introduced to the basic format of the Electoral College, this lesson will use primary sources to deepen their understanding of the Electoral College Process, the role of the Virginia Governor in the Electoral College, and the debate over the current utility of the Electoral College. Students will be given the primary sources to analyze, as well as the format for policy brief writing.

Massive Resistance and School Integration: Social Ramifications in Virginia

In this lesson students will examine how the Brown v. Board of Education U.S. Supreme Court decision gave rise to the Massive Resistance Movement in Virginia. Students will discover how the Massive Resistance Movement sought to stop the ordered integration of public schools in Virginia mandated by the Brown decision and analyze the social ramifications on both the whites and blacks in Virginia. This lesson focuses mainly on the events surrounding the integration of public schools in Virginia. Students will analyze political cartoons and other primary source documents from the Massive Resistance Movement era in order to interpret the ideas and events from different historical perspectives.

The Role of Television Commercials in Presidential Election Campaigns

This extended lesson will provide students with an opportunity to learn about the role of television in transforming the nature of political campaigning in presidential elections. The extended lesson will focus on several campaign commercials produced between 1952 and 2004 and the impact that these commercials had on the related campaigns. Students will work individually, in small groups, and as a class to analyze the images and language used in the commercials to determine the central message of each commercial. Students will focus on the intended audience of each political ad and determine what makes an effective campaign ad. As the final assessment for this extended lesson, each student will prepare a written analysis of a 2008 presidential campaign commercial utilizing the techniques covered during the lesson.