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November 01, 2010

Need an Election Lesson? Let Student Gerrymander Like a Politician

The_GerryMander Most history and government students learn about Gerrymandering - the re-drawing to legislative districts to favor a specific political party. Gerrymandering at Wikipedia.

The 2010 elections will have a major impact on the shape of congressional and state legislative district across the country. Instead of simply telling your students about the impact of the elections - why not give them the chance to gerrymander their own district. 

Link to Gerrymandering lesson

I used this lesson for years with my students and they came up with some remarkable legislative districts that varied greatly based on which party they   were trying to promote. And of course they developed their own understanding of the process, political implications and meaning of gerrymandering.

For more of my history and social studies lessons click here. Let your students be the historian with document based questions

Image from Wikipedia  -  First printed in March 1812, this political cartoon was drawn in reaction to the state senate electoral districts drawn by the Massachusetts legislature to favor the Democratic-Republican Party candidates of Governor Elbridge Gerry over the Federalists. 

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