Scholastic launches election website for grades 3-12

Students can cast an unofficial vote for president and get a deep civics lesson on the process and issues affecting the 2020 campaigns.
By: | August 24, 2020
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With just 52 days remaining until the November presidential election, the editors at Scholastic children’s magazine have unveiled an information-rich, engaging website aimed at keeping students and teachers in grades 3-12 educated on the political landscape.

The Election 2020 site contains featured articles and interviews from “kid reporters” on issues surrounding the parties and candidates – President Donald Trump and challenger Joe Biden – as well as teacher resources for election-specific books for students at various grade levels.

“Young people have the power to play an essential role in our democracy,” Scholastic notes in its mission statement to teachers on the new site. “We designed this resource to help students in grades 3–12 understand how best to use their voices and exercise their rights. It is our mission to provide them with the information they need to become active citizens and passionate advocates for the kind of world they want.”

One of the main highlights on the site, of course, is the mock election vote, which gives students the opportunity to cast an anonymous unofficial ballot for the candidate of their choice. According to Scholastic, students have correctly selected the winner in all but three elections since 1940 – Dewey v. Truman, Kennedy v. Nixon and Trump v. Hillary Clinton. Results will be shared in October.

Before making that all-important selection, students can learn more about each of the candidates and get informed on the hottest topics on the political scene: the COVID-19 pandemic response, health care, climate change, racial equality, the economy and education. They can also get a primer on each of the political parties to help make a more informed decision. Students who log in can select articles tailored to their appropriate level – grades 3-6 or 7-12.

“We also have given deep consideration to how social media has shaped young people’s ability to stay connected with current events and social movements and to engage with the issues of the day,” Scholastic says on the site. “Students have more access to information than ever before. We’ve taken this into account when presenting details about the issues shaping the 2020 election.”

Many of the most current topics and articles can be found under a heading called Civics in Action, which has breaking news – such as Biden choosing Kamala Harris as his vice presidential running mate – as well as features such as “Should Voting Be Mandatory” and “Media Literacy”.  Others can be found under a heading called Kid Reporters, where 10-14-year-old scribes tackle some of the toughest topics and conduct interviews of lawmakers, voters and candidates.

‘November’s presidential election will take place in a time of enormous social upheaval, and the consequences for our nation’s future are significant,” Scholastic says on the site. “Against this backdrop, we have placed particular weight on countering false and misleading information with evidence-based truths. Every statement made about a candidate or his policies has been extensively fact-checked and vetted by a team of editors and educators.”

For younger students, the site also contains has many fun learning activities, including quizzes, a look at past presidents and an interactive map that allows kids to use their math skills to go from state to state in building the necessary 270 electoral votes needed for election.

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