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270 to Win
Pros: The site is updated often, and many elections are available for students to review.
Cons: Design and content can be overwhelming and confusing for students who aren't election buffs.
Bottom Line: It's a solid resource for teaching about the election system, but a more kid-friendly interface would make it even better.
You can definitely use 270 to Win in a history or civics class to introduce students to the Electoral College. You can project the site on a screen and guide the whole class through a state-by-state analysis of any election. You can then allow students to explore the site on their own and draw conclusions and make predictions. The site can be especially useful and engaging in an election year.
270 to Win is an interactive map of the Electoral College and a history of presidential elections in the United States. You can review interactive maps that reflect recent presidential elections and learn how battles in the Senate and House have played out. There's a blog, some quizzes, and an election simulator that's connected to the most recent presidential election.
Students can create maps based on their own predictions and share them on Facebook, or they can view past election maps to see patterns and get a sense of a state's voting history. There's no login or saved data; you just click around the site looking at and analyzing election maps. During an actual, live presidential election, students can watch as the electoral votes come in and learn why the number 270 is so important.
You have to know a little about elections and how the Electoral College works to navigate the site with ease. A student who's just beginning to learn about the U.S. government might be overwhelmed by all the options here. That said, there's a ton of information to review. It's presented well, although additional guidance would make this an even better place for kids to find election information. It would be best used in a high school setting, particularly during an election year.
Students can learn the difference between the electoral and popular votes and make predictions about the next election based on current and past data. If they're already familiar with the workings of the Electoral College and the mechanisms of U.S. elections, 270 to Win can give them a better understanding of how states have historically voted over the years and how the maps have changed from election to election. A less chaotic design and more guidance for young users would make 270 to Win a great choice for election updates for all ages.