More Information

Social Studies, Elections and Voting, Flags, Monuments, Symbols


Explore the Election: Campaigning

Scholastic News Online

Scholastic News Online is a free resource with breaking news and highlights from the print magazine.

Available for grades 1-6, Scholastic News magazine brings high-interest current events and nonfiction to millions of classrooms each week.

Additionally, our subscribers have FREE access to Scholastic News Interactive, an exclusive online learning tool featuring digital editions, videos, interactive features, differentiated articles, and much more.

Winning Campaigns Lesson Plan for Grades 6-8

Duration: about 80 minutes (1 to 2 class periods)

Objective: Students will develop media-literacy skills as they evaluate various Election 2008 campaign materials and create their own campaign posters.

Materials: Scholastic News Online "Create a Campaign Poster" game; Examples of campaign materials (lawn signs, posters, buttons, etc.) for various candidates; recording of at least one TV campaign ad; Campaign Ad-venture (PDF)

Set Up and Prepare: Collect examples of 2008 campaign materials (see above), or invite students to bring them in from home. Record one or more TV campaign ads, or find them online. Preview the on-site "Create a Campaign Poster" game. Print out and make copies of the PDF needed for this lesson.


1. Discuss with your class the purpose of political campaigning-winning attention and, ultimately, votes. Share some examples of campaign materials from Election 2008, making sure to include some from each candidate. Briefly discuss what students like and do not like about some of the examples.

2. Describe types of campaigning. Explain that a successful campaign involves making TV or newspaper ads and creating items like posters, buttons, and flyers. These items are paid for by a candidate and his or her supporters. Another aspect of campaigning is making speeches and public appearances in an effort to reach voters and receive favorable coverage in the news media. Does all this sound complicated and exhausting to your class? It should! Explain that by November, the two main candidates will each have spent about $1 billion dollars and several years of their lives trying to get elected!

3. Explore campaign imagery. Have students look for colors, symbols, and images common to many of the campaign materials you've collected. Guide students to notice that many basic campaign materials use a palette of red, white, and blue. They abound with stars, American flags, eagles, and other patriotic symbols. Have students discuss the message the candidates are trying to send when they choose such colors and images. Ask: Why do they choose these symbols? If possible, point out campaign materials that include the traditional political party symbols, a donkey for the Democratic Party and an elephant for the Republican Party. Explain that these symbols were first used in a political cartoon back in 1874! Today they are used to quickly identify a candidate's party affiliation. Discuss any other images or symbols that students notice in the campaign materials. Ask: Why might the candidate have chosen that symbol?

4. Explore slogans. Have students identify any slogans they spot in the campaign materials. Explain that a slogan is a catchy phrase to persuade people to vote for a particular candidate. Ask students to describe what they think is strong about particular slogans.

5. Explore campaign ads. If possible, play one or more recorded TV campaign ads for the class (you can often find recent ads online to play for your class). Point out that while campaign posters and buttons usually have simple messages, campaign ads on TV can be fairly complicated. Explain that some ads are positive (attempting to make the featured candidate look good), while other ads are negative (attempting to make the opposing candidate appear bad). Campaign ads also use a variety of persuasive tricks to win voters over, such as:

Bandwagon: telling people to choose a candidate because he or she is the most popular

Testimonial: having a well-known person voice support for a candidate

Empty phrases: using statements that sound good but have little meaning, such as, "I believe in America"

Plain Folks: showing that the candidate is just an ordinary person

Discuss these techniques, asking students if they have ever noticed them at work in ads for candidates or products. Distribute the Campaign Ad-venture PDF, and invite students to use the questions to evaluate a television campaign ad.

6. For an exciting culminating activity, have students apply what they have learned to create their own campaign poster in the Scholastic News Online "Create a Campaign Poster" game. Have students follow the directions to draft a persuasive, attractive poster. Students can share their posters with the class by printing them out.

Assess Students: Have each student hand in his or her completed campaign poster and Campaign Ad-venture PDF.

  • Teacher Store
  • The Teacher Store  
    Diorama Designer v2.0 30 Computers

    Diorama Designer v2.0 30 Computers

    Diorama Designer™
    For Grades 2 – 6

    The easy-to-use tool to design, print, and assemble 3-D dioramas!
    Creating dioramas is easier than ever -- this powerful tool allows students to design original dioramas on the computer and then print and assemble them.

    Product Features
    • Hundreds of historically accurate architectural elements and furnishings to create original dioramas
    • Dioramas from 4 historical periods: Medieval, Native American, Colonial American, and Contemporary American
    • Over 50 ready-made dioramas, printable in 3 sizes from 3-12 inches tall, including shoebox-sized
    • Over 100 cross-curricular lessons and ideas
    • Narrated images of historical objects from everyday life
    • Cut by hand OR send to Silhouette Digital Fabricator to automatically fabricate cut & fold lines.

    Meets State and National Standards

    Your students will:
    • Learn about cultures from different historical periods
    • Examine the interaction of humans and their physical environment
    • Understand why artistic creation is a cultural expression
    • Identify and use various sources for reconstructing the past
    • Examine economic and social changes in U.S. history
    • Communicate their understanding of history in visual form

    Prepack | Grades 2-6
    Add To Cart
    Educators Only
    Diorama Designer v2.0 30 Computers
    Grades 2-6 $500.00
    Add To Cart
  • Teacher Store
  • The Teacher Store  
    25 Totally Terrific Social Studies Activities

    25 Totally Terrific Social Studies Activities

    by Jean Mumper Kathy Pike Paula Beardell Krieg

    Showcase students’ learning with these 25 fun and easy-to-make presentation formats for any social studies topic! This collection of motivating projects, features the Timeline Tube, Biography Hanger, Fact Fan, and many more hands-on ways for students to share what they’ve studied in class or researched on their own. Includes step-by-step directions, photographs of sample projects, and 150+ topic ideas.

    $7.79 You save: 35%
    eBook | Grades 3-6
    Add To Cart
    Educators Only
    25 Totally Terrific Social Studies Activities
    Grades 3-6 $7.79
    Add To Cart
Help | Privacy Policy




(Separate multiple email addresses with commas)

Check this box to send yourself a copy of the email.


Scholastic respects your privacy. We do not retain or distribute lists of email addresses.