Lesson Plan

The Political Spectrum

Students will learn about the political spectrum and how it is used to categorize people based on their beliefs.
Kris H.
Instructional Technology Specialist
Cornell Senior High School
Coraopolis, PA
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My Grades 12
My Subjects Social Studies
EdTech Mentor

Students will be able to...

  1. describe the different points on the political spectrum.
  2. define revolutionary, liberal, moderate, conservative and reactionary.
  3. evaluate their own beliefs and identify where they lie on the political spectrum.
  4. evaluate different methods used to describe political beliefs
Social Studies
Grades 10 - 12
All Notes
Teacher Notes
Student Notes

1 Please Do Now - Type I Writing Assignment - Pair Share - Whole Class

Activity: Other — Warm-up Activity


On the projector or board post the following Please Do Now writing prompt. 

"Write at least five lines on the following: What is a prism?"

When students finish, lead them in a discussion about how a prism allows us to see the colors that are in light already. 


Student Instructions


Follow instructions on the board. When finished, read your response to a neighbor. 

2 Direct Instruction

Activity: Presenting


Define each of the positions of the political spectrum and discuss with students where Democrats, Republicans, Greens, Libertarians, Neo-Nazis and other parties might fit. Ask students to explain where the founders would fit.

Student Instructions

Students take notes and answer guided questions. 

3 Practice

Activity: Investigating

Have students make predictions about where why lie on the political spectrum. 

Direct students to complete the political ideology survey. http://www.youthleadership.net/econgress/political_ideology_survey

Lead a discussion with students about their predictions vs. results. 

Student Instructions

Complete political ideology survey.

4 Investigation

Activity: Investigating

Have students complete the "World's Smallest Politcal Quiz." http://www.theadvocates.org/quiz/quiz.php have students discuss their results and if they believe the results more accuratively reflect their beliefs. 

5 Investigating

Activity: Investigating

Discuss with students how political contributions of companies may influence their purchases. Use the iOS or Android App BuyPartison http://www.spendconsciously.com

And mirror the screen of your mobile device using Reflector on a Mac or PC connected to a projector http://www.airsquirrels.com/reflector/

Discuss with students if this new knowledge will change any of their behavior. 

Student Instructions

Ask students to scan the barcodes of items they use on a daily basis. 

6 Closure

Activity: Assessing

On a piece of paper ask students to list three things they learned today or one question they still have. 

Student Instructions

Students complete tickets out the door and return them to their teacher.