Common Sense Review
Updated October 2013

270 to Win

Follow dynamics of red and blue states through cool U.S. election maps
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Common Sense Rating 3
  • Though the quizzes are pretty tricky, they're great for extra credit.
  • The site's predictive tools are really interesting.
  • You can embed an election clock into your own website.
  • You can view data in several different ways, but it helps to know what you're looking for.
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.
Polly Conway
Common Sense Reviewer
Classroom teacher
Common Sense Rating 3
Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return? 3

Design is heavy on red and blue; the site isn't that sophisticated and can be tricky to explore. Election buffs may find it easy to understand 270 to Win, but novices may need some background education.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer? 3

Kids can take a quiz about the electoral college (it's not easy!), or they can watch an election simulator that changes from day to day.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students? 3

There's no help except for a map that shows various options, which is unfortunate since the site can be overwhelming. An active blog and Twitter are nice additions.

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How Can Teachers Use It?

You can definitely use 270toWin in a history or civics class to introduce students to the Electoral College. You can project the site on a screen and guide a 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.

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What's It Like?

270toWin 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 log-in 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.

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Is It Good For Learning?

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, 270toWin can give them a better understanding of how states have historically voted over the years and show them how the maps have changed from election to election. A less chaotic design and more guidance for young users would make 270toWin a great choice for election updates for all ages.

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See how teachers are using 270 to Win

Lesson Plans