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FREE U.S. History Lessons

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The following activity by ICivics introduces students to the process of selecting and electing a candidate based on issues and positions. Awesome activity during an election season.

Cast Your Vote: Actively read the information presented in the activity.

What issues do you want to ask candidates about? In Cast Your Vote, you choose the questions in a debate, rate their responses, and vote for the candidate of your choice. It might be a good idea to play the game 3 times to see all the topics and positions on the issues.


Just One More Thing (need to play 3 games)

Ask the candidates 15 questions.

The Opinionator

Pick the candidate whose views best match yours at least 2 times.

The debate! Who will you choose?

Choose the questions to ask the candidates.

Select the answer you agree with. (Some are the same.)

Select level of importance. (very important, medium importance, low importance)

Moderator: “As the moderator, I will introduce 5 topics. I will take one audience question for each topic.”

“You’ll decide which candidate you agree with on the issue  – and how important the issue is!” “But pay attention, because you’ll be voting for one of the candidates in the election… and you should base your vote on the issues you find most important.”

Topic = Smoking:


  1. Would you support a ban on smoking in public places?
  2. What would you do to help people quit smoking?
  3. How can we prevent kids from smoking?

Candidate #1: Raising the tax on cigarettes would make them more expensive, so fewer kids would buy them.

Candidate #2: Making it illegal to smoke under the age of 21 would help keep kids away from harmful cigarettes.

Moderator: Okay! Remember what you decided as the candidates discuss the next topic.

Topic = Health: Everyone wants to stay healthy. How will the candidates help.


  1. What will you do to prevent people from getting sick?
  2. How will you encourage people to make healthy choices?
  3. What will you do for people who can’t afford medical care?

Candidate #1: I will make it easier for people who need medical care to access government health benefits.

Candidate #2: I will make it more affordable for people who need medical care to buy private insurance.

Topic = Safety: Let’s hear the candidates’ ideas about keeping citizens safe and secure.


  1. What will you do to support of police department?
  2. How will you work to reduce accidents on our roads?
  3. How do you plan to reduce crimes in our neighborhoods?

Candidate #1: More police on patrol and better street lights should make our streets safer!

Candidate #2: Harsher sentences for criminals will cause crime rates to drop.

Topic = Pets: Lots of people love animals. Do we have any questions about pets?


  1. How will you help us get a new dog park?
  2. What will you do to help homeless pets?
  3. What kinds of animals should people be able to keep as pets?

Candidate #1: I will support using money from the Parks and Recreation Department’s budget to build a 21st century dog park!

Candidate #2: If people and business donate land and money for a new dog park, I’ll make it easy to get building permits.

Candidate #1: More police on patrol and better street lights should make our streets safer!

Candidate #2: Harsher sentences for criminals will cause crime rates to drop.

Topics: Taxes and government spending

Select from 3 questions:

  1. What is the most important thing to spend tax dollars on?

Candidate #1: strong military, police force, and modern jails

Candidate #2: offer support and services so that people can be healthy and build better lives.

Voters want clean air and water. Do the candidates have a “pollution solution?”


  1. What will you do to reduce air pollution in our community?
  2. How can we keep dangerous chemicals out of the drinking water?
  3. Will you support laws to protect our wetlands? (Both Support)

Moderator: A lot of people run their own businesses, but it isn’t easy. Can the candidates help?


  1. Do you have a plan to make it easier to start a business?
  2. What would you do to help small businesses succeed?
  3. How will you help businesses owners follow all the complex rules and laws?


Select the candidate’s response that most influenced your decision.

This is great because it requires the students to actively reflect on the choices that were made.