Updated November 2015

C-SPAN Classroom: Campaign 2016

Watch videos from every candidate, get perspectives in their own words

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Social Studies, Critical Thinking

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Campaign 2016 is an in-depth resource for exploring the 2016 campaign specifically and the presidential election process in general. The site's divided into nine sections. The first two feature video clips from every declared candidate in the 2016 presidential campaign from both major parties, including videos of each candidate announcing his or her candidacy and several short clips of each candidate addressing major issues, like the economy and immigration. The other sections explore political parties, the election process, the Electoral College, campaign finance, campaign ads, polls, and debates. There are tons of videos from experts on these broad subjects, plus each of the nine sections includes a key question, discussion questions, and a "culminating assessment" activity to use with the information in that section. There's also often a "possible extension" activity that can encourage students to delve deeper and learn more.

The videos from the candidates are excellent. They're arranged as neutrally as possible -- by the dates that each candidate declared his or her candidacy -- and they offer a head-to-head look at each of their remarks on the same subjects. Students are unlikely to encounter this info anywhere else, especially with such neutrality, so consider having students dive deep into viewing these videos side by side, then have students write about their insights or give a presentation that compares and contrasts what they learn. Use the site's built-in culminating assessments -- which are good, if a little cursory -- or create your own in-depth assessments that require students to analyze the candidates' views and assess their differences. Have students use the candidates' remarks to construct your own in-class debate. There's also some good historical content from past debates; have students use those clips to analyze how the presidential election process has changed over the years. Use the sections on campaign ads and polls to have students develop their own ads or create their own polls, and discuss how each of those tools impacts the electoral process. Check out the sections on how television and social media have impacted the campaigns, and have students create their own television ads or social media campaigns for their own candidates to experience these challenges firsthand.

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