Learning opportunity: Election 2014


Getting started


This learning opportunity educates students about democracy, reading and analyzing information, the election process, making decisions, different levels of government, ways that citizens participate in political life, and more.


Through the activities, students will:

  • Learn about the roles and structure of different levels of government
  • Gather, read, and analyze information, and use it to think critically and make decisions and take action
  • Identify and problem-solve community issues, and communicate those solutions and ideas
  • Explore democracy, citizen participation and the election process by taking part in a mock election


The activity targets students in grades K-12 and aligns to Common Core and NC Essential Standards for social studies.




Learn about the candidates, the government offices they are running for, and any other key issues in the election.

If you find there is too much information, or too many candidates, one way to start is with an issue you care about (education, environment, jobs, healthcare, etc.). Then find information about the candidates and their views on that issue.

THINK about, and ANALYZE, the information

As you are thinking, ask questions

  • Is this information helpful?
  • Is it from a good, truthful source? Does it fit with other facts you know? How does it make you feel?
  • Do you have enough information to make a decision? (if not, find more information!)
  • How does this level of government impact children and youth?
  • Why is the candidate running for office? What information do I need to decide if he/she is qualified for the position, and will be a good representative?

Tip: In an election, focus more on the individual candidates, their ideas, and their solutions - and less on the political parties and their platforms.

DECIDE: Choose a candidate, or a position on an issue

Review what you have learned about the candidates - did they share ideas and solutions, or mostly complain about the opposing candidate?

Rate the candidates, using the decision-making chart for students. Decide who you agree with the most. Based on the information you know, do you think the candidate will do a good job?  Consider the candidate's:

  • Background
  • Positions
  • Traits
  • And any other information important to you


Active citizens and leaders don’t just read and think about information. They take action with it! One important opportunity for citizens to participate in democracy and in the community is by voting. Every year there is an election. it is important to cast a ballot to make your voice heard!

You can make your voice heard outside of voting, too. Have an idea for the community? Be a problem-solver, and make your voice heard! Or, be a citizen journalist.

STAY ENGAGED: Keep paying attention and being involved

Once you vote, are you finished? NO! After the election, look for the official election results. Keep track of the winning candidates  - do they keep their campaign promises? Do they make good decisions? Stay involved - watch or attend government meetings, keep up with the news, and contact elected officials about issues you care about.

If you are in high school, get involved in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Youth Council, and work with public officials to solve community problems. Middle and elementary school students, one way to get involved is by making sure the youth council members – your representatives - know what’s on YOUR mind! Contact GenerationNation - we will share your ideas with teen leaders.

Tags: analysis, elections, events and holidays, government, local government, news and media literacy, reading information

GenerationNation develops a new generation of civic leaders.




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