Should Voting in the United States be Mandatory? Research Activity

Should Voting in the United States be Mandatory? Research Activity

Course(s)/Subject(s): Civics, Economics, Geography/Social Studies

Grade Level(s):8

Key Words: Voting, spreadsheet, essay

Developer(s) Name: Patricia A. Harris

School: Lake Braddock Middle School

File Name:ssPHlb99.cwk

Attached Files:
Approximate Time Frame:Two 90 minute blocks

Materials/Equipment Needed:Computer with Internet access, ClarisWorks, printer, attachments

Description of Lesson (includes context):Should Voting in the United States be Mandatory? Students will access the Internet in order to compile voter turnout statistics and comparative government information from ten countries. Students will use this information to create a spreadsheet. The spreadsheet will serve as a foundation for a class discussion and subsequently a three paragraph persuasive essayto address the question posed in the lesson title.


  1. What is the objective of this lesson? Students will create a spreadsheet using
    information which compares voter turnout and requirements in the United States as
    compared with nine other nations. The information will be used as the foundation for a
    persuasive essay.

FCPS POS Standards:
8.1Students will identify and understand the rights and responsibilities of citizens of
the United States

8.2Students will know, understand, and explain the importance of the political and
civic beliefs, values, and principles that support and maintain American
constitutional government and the workings of their own and other governments.


Students will conduct inquiries and research to demonstrate knowledge and

understanding of civics, economics, and geography.

FCPS POS Benchmarks:
8.1.3Students will demonstrate an understanding of political culture and be able to
employ the civic skills necessary for effective, participatory citizenship.

Page 1 of 4


Students will be able to identify and explain other political systems and examine

the relationship of the United States to other nations and to world affairs.

8.5.2Students will be able to organize information in a variety of forms.

8.5.3Students will be able to analyze information.

8.5.4Students will be able interpret information.

8.5.5Students will be able to communicate in a variety of written forms.

8.5.7Students will be able to communicate using technologies.

8.6.1Students will be able to make and evaluate decisions.

FCPS POS Indicators:
8.1.3.aRealize the expectation that responsible citizens become informed about and
involved with contemporary and continuing issues in civic life.


Compare the political system of the United States to other political systems with

emphasis on governmental structures and powers.


Classify information according to specific criteria such as sequence, relative

location, order of importance, comparison, and cause and effect relationships.

8.5.3.aIdentify the main idea (thesis) and supporting details (evidence).

5.8.3.dParaphrase information.

8.5.4.aCompare and contrast information.

8.5.4.dExamine point of view.

8.5.4.fDraw logical inferences.

8.5.4.gDevelop generalizations based on information from multiple sources.

8.5.5.bUse the writing porcess to bring a draft to publication.


Evaluate, take, and defend a position on a contemporary issue in civic life,

working individually or in groups.

8.6.1.bMake a decision based on available information.

8.6.1.dProvide a rationale for the decision.

VA SOL(s) (including Computer/Technology):

HSS 7.8 , CT 8.1.1, CT 8.1.4,

CT 8.1.5

Page 2 of 4


  1. What will we examine as evidence of students' knowledge and/or skill?

Product(s): Spreadsheet, essay

Performance(s): Participation in class discussion, accuracy of information, content knowledge, point of view, organization, mechanics, following guidelines of the assignment


  1. What exactly will the students and teacher do during the lesson?

Directions to students for proceeding with the lesson:

  1. Open web site:
  2. Click on About Elections and Voting.
  3. Click on International Voter Turnout.
  4. Choose the United States and 9 other countries making sure to include the statistics for
    the countries sited in the Draft Spreadsheet.
  5. Handwrite the information gathered needed to complete the Draft Spreadsheet.
  6. Open web site:
  7. Click on Country.
  8. Click on Government.
  9. Click on Suffrage.
  10. Complete Draft Spreadsheet.
  11. Participate in class discussion of the question : Should Voting in the United States be
  12. Use ClarisWorks word processing to write a three paragraph persuasive essay to
    support your position.

Directions to teacher/administrator using the lesson:

  1. Assist students in opening web sites.
  2. Make photo copies of Draft Spreadsheet. (See attachment DRAFTVOTESS.cwk)
  3. Lead class discussion on differences in voter turnout, forms of government, various
    voting requirements/restrictions, and date of country's independence in order to help
    students draw conclusions and form opinions regarding the topic question.
  4. Review the Project Rubric (See attachment ProjRubric.cwk) after explaining the
    requirements of the project.


  1. What options in presentation(s) and/or response(s) are suggested in order to provide the opportunity for all students to demonstrate achievement of the benchmark(s) and indicator(s)?
    * Work collaboratively with a partner or in small groups to access and organize information
    from the web site.
    * Use a graphic organizer to present persuasive essay/point of view.

Page 3 of 4

* Give additional time as needed.

Page 4 of 4