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Teaching Teens to Vote Responsibly

As elections loom near, it is important to teach our young people how to vote responsibly. By teaching students to vote with forethought and information, we teach them how to be responsible and engaged citizens. Responsible voting includes understanding our personal ideology, researching the candidates and issues, and knowing how to cast a vote.

Memorial Day and Voter’s Rights

Memorial Day season is a good time to teach students about the rights that our soldiers have fought and died for. It is a good time to discuss rights so important that Americans have been willing to lay down their lives to protect that right for others. In honor of Memorial Day, Americans have a responsibility to exercise their right to vote by casting their vote with knowledge and careful consideration.

Helping Teens Understand the Two-Party System

America’s two-party system allows for voters to cast ballots for candidates with opposing visions of how to make our country great. Understanding what those parties stand for and how they fit in the scheme of those ideologies is an important step to responsible citizenship.

The “What’s the Difference” lesson included here provides students with the mission statements of our two major political parties and help understanding what those statements mean. It is one of the pieces of the puzzle explaining voting rights and responsibilities found in the Daily Living Skills workbook “Voting,” and part of the three-part bundle pack “Smart Voting,” which includes the workbooks “Voting,” “Fact or Fake News,” and “Understanding Government.”

Using this Lesson

  1. What’s Memorial Day? Begin this lesson by quizzing students about their knowledge of Memorial Day. Help them move to the fact that it honors soldiers who gave their lives for our freedoms and rights. Begin listing rights on the board or a chart and help students list “voting” as one of those rights.

  2. What is the Vote? Begin a new list of what they know about voting. Introduce the concept of the two-party system and discuss ideas about what Democrats and Republicans stand for.

  3. Introduce the Worksheet. Provide the mission statements for both. Discuss what those statements mean. Can students give examples of Republican/Democratic stances on subjects that support those mission statements?

  4. Complete Quiz. To test for comprehension of the lesson, provide the quiz for students. Discuss any missed answers to clarify.

For More Information

“What’s the Difference?” is one lesson from the “Voting” workbook from the Daily Living Skills series. Other lessons in this book include: what difference does my vote make, who can vote, how to register, how to access voting machines, how should I vote?, two-party system, kinds of parties, pros and cons, third parties, choosing sides/conservatives and liberals, what am I?, who’s on my side, becoming informed, bias, overcoming bias, who cares about midterms, powers of federal government, powers of state government, powers of local government.

Additionally, “Smart Voting” is a bundle pack that includes this workbook plus helps students decipher between fact and fake news, and helps students understand the branches and functions of government.

Written on a 3rd/4th grade level, Daily Living Skills workbooks are filled with light, airy pages and lots of bullet-point information, yet are respectful of teens’ sensibilities and sense of humor while meeting federal mandates for transition skills and Indicator 13 requirements. “Voting” may be found here.

5_4 What's the Difference_
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