About the Lesson
This lesson is part of a series of lessons that help students explore various ways to be civically involved. Running for office is one pathway that students will explore here. Students will explore what motivates people to run for office and as well as the challenges/risks involved in running. They assess whether they think they would be interested in running for office.
- List reasons why someone might run for office
- List risks/challenges to running for office
- List criteria to run for office
- Analyze their own interest in running for office
- Why Run for Office? chart
- Articles (optional)
- Written response homework assignment
Common Core Alignment:
- CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.11-12.10: Write routinely over extended time frames (time for research, reflection, and revision) and shorter time frames (a single sitting or a day or two) for a range of tasks, purposes, and audiences.
- D2.Civ.5.9-12: Evaluate citizens’ and institutions’ effectiveness in addressing social and political problems at the local, state, tribal, national, and/or international level.
Prior to Class:
Print copies of handouts.
Bell Ringer: Would You Run for Office?
Have students write a silent written response to the following prompt:
- President Barack Obama, upon leaving office, told young people “If you’re disappointed by your elected officials, grab a clipboard, get some signatures and run for office yourself.” Would you run for office? Why or Why not?
Before: Share Out
Solicit responses from students to bell-ringer.
During: Why Run for Office?
Explain to students that they are going to try to dig down to better understand WHY someone would run for office, why someone would NOT run for office and some of the criteria they think are needed to run for office. Have small groups discuss and complete the Why Run for Office handout.
After: Would You Run for Office?
Have students complete a short written response to the following prompts:
- Would you run for office? Why or why not? (cite information from the Why Run for Office handout in your response).
- If you would not want to run for office, why not? (cite information from the Why Run for Office handout in your response). What could you do to get someone who represents your interest in office?
Note to teachers: Students may not need to wait until they are older to run for office but may consider a run for office at the school (student council? local school council?).
If necessary, have students complete the After written assignment for homework.
Enrichment and Extension:
Have students read about other people’s motivation to run for office here.
Have students read and respond to this Salon article.
Have students arrange to interview an elected official (current or former) about why they ran for office.