KEY STANDARDS

Common Core: RH.6-8.1, RI.6-8.1, RI.6-8.2, RI.6-8.3, W.6-8.1

CURRICULUM CONNECTIONS

• Use this article to spark a discussion about citizens’ voting rights and responsibilities.

• Pair this article with a lesson about the role of Congress in the United States.

Before Reading

1. BUILDING BACKGROUND KNOWLEDGE
(10 MINUTES)

Ask students to consider what might happen when political candidates running for office receive the same number of votes. How might election officials break the tie?

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Read & Analyze

2. INDEPENDENT READING
(10 MINUTES)

Have students read the article on their own, writing down any comments or questions.

3. CLOSE-READING QUESTIONS
Have students write their answers to each question, or use these prompts to guide a discussion.

• ANALYZING DETAILS: How was Republican David Yancey recently chosen as the winner of a tied Virginia race, and why was his victory important to his party?
(Yancey’s name was pulled out of a bowl in a random drawing. His win allows Republicans to maintain a narrow majority of 51-49 in the Virginia House of Delegates.)

• CITING TEXTUAL EVIDENCE: What are some other ways that politicians have been selected by drawing?
(Answers will vary but may include that ancient Greece selected officeholders at random from a pool of names, and candidates for a seat in the Mississippi House drew straws in 2015.)

Extend & Assess

4. WRITING A SUMMARY
Explain to students that an objective summary is a paragraph that tells what an article is mainly about and that it does not include opinions. Then assign the skills sheet Writing an Objective Summary: Sum It Up.

DIFFERENTIATING

Lower Level Provide students with a list of definitions for words and phrases that may be new to them, such as culmination, incumbent, swing state, contested, and conceded.

Higher Level Have students write a letter to the editor of their local newspaper, encouraging people in their community to vote. Instruct students to use details from their summary of the article from step 4 as an example of how every vote counts.

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