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Elections in the United States

Course: Weekly lessons, Unit: In the news

  • 75 mins
  • In class
  • Listening
  • B2, C1


Learning goals:

  • Understand and respond to an authentic radio report about voter behaviour
  • Use a variety of listening strategies effectively

Published by

EF Education First


Success criteria:

  • Describe your opinions on why people might not vote
  • Correctly describe the main ideas of the report, and answer questions about it
  • Define and use key language from the report
  • Create a campaign to encourage people to vote

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Activities (11)

Introduction

Introduction

Recommendations

  • 2 mins
  • Class
  • Core activity


Student instructions

No instructions


Teacher notes

No instructions

 

Warm up

Warm up

Recommendations

  • 4 mins
  • Pair, Group, Class
  • Core activity


Student instructions

Watch a candidate's campaign advertisement for the 2018 midterm elections in the United States. Then discuss the questions:
1. Can you understand what the candidate believes in?
2. If you saw an advertisement like this, would it make you want to vote?


Teacher notes

The aim of this activity is to introduce the topic of elections in the United States, and to gain an understanding of some of the communication techniques used by candidates.

 

How US government works

How US government works

Recommendations

  • 5 mins
  • Individual, Pair
  • Support activity


Student instructions

The United States government is divided into different parts. Match the definitions to the systems.


Teacher notes

The aim of this activity is to define some of the key concepts in the US political system. It can be used to support students who require further explanation of the key components of the US government.
Explain to students that to make sure one person does not have too much power, the US government is divided into different parts, has a lot of elections, and has strong rules.

 

Lead in

Lead in

Recommendations

  • 7 mins
  • Individual, Class
  • Core activity


Student instructions

No instructions


Teacher notes

The aim of this activity is to activate students' knowledge of voter enthusiasm.
Some of the reasons are talked about in the Listen activities.
Run this activity as a poll. After students have submitted their answers, hold a short class discussion on the reasons people, especially in the United States, do not vote.

 

Listen: Main ideas

Listen: Main ideas

Recommendations

  • 9 mins
  • Individual, Pair
  • Core activity


Student instructions

Open the link and listen to the radio report about why so many people in the United States don't vote. Make notes on what you hear and then compare your answers with another student's. Do not read the transcript.


Teacher notes

The aim of this activity is to listen for the main ideas of an authentic radio report.
Explain that the audio is seven minutes long, and that students do not need to understand everything, just the main ideas. They will be able to listen again for specific information in the Listen: Detail activity..


 

Language

Language

Recommendations

  • 6 mins
  • Individual, Pair
  • Core activity


Student instructions

Look at the script lines and match the definitions to the words and phrases.


Teacher notes

The aim of this activity is to define some key language from the report.
Language notes

The opposite of non-partisan is partisan, where one strongly supports one side over another. Partisan can also describe a combatant in a war who is fighting against an occupying force, such as those fighting German occupation during World War II.

 

Practice

Practice

Recommendations

  • 7 mins
  • Individual
  • Support activity


Student instructions

Fill in the gaps to complete the text about a controversial election. You will need to change the form of some of the words. You do not need to use all of the words.


Teacher notes

The aim of this activity is to give practice using the key language.
Extension

 

Listen: Detail

Listen: Detail

Recommendations

  • 9 mins
  • Individual, Pai
  • Core activity


Student instructions

Listen to the radio report again and answer the questions.


Teacher notes

The aim of this activity is to practise listening for detail.
Language notes
You may need to explain some of the more advanced vocabulary to students, or have them look up definitions in a dictionary.
. An eligible voter is someone who is legally allowed to vote.
Turnout is the percentage of eligible voters who actually vote in an election.

 

Respond

Respond

Recommendations

  • 7 mins
  • Pair, Group
  • Core activity


Student instructions

Discuss the questions in pairs or groups.


Teacher notes

The aim of this activity is for students to discuss their opinions of the issues raised in the lesson. Have students talk about each question in pairs or small groups.
Suggested answers

 

Follow up

Follow up

Recommendations

  • 15 mins
  • No suggestions
  • Challenge activity


Student instructions

No instructions


Teacher notes

The aim of this activity is to have students work collaboratively to suggest possible solutions to the issues discussed in the lesson.
Cultural notes An example of a successful engagement campaign before a vote can be found in the 2014 Scottish independence referendum with the 'Better together' and 'Yes Scotland' campaigns. The referendum had an 84% turnout, and even though the organizations were partisan, the campaigns were praised for their high quality debate which engaged many people who had not previously voted. Sixteen- and seventeen-year-olds were also allowed to vote, a first in the United Kingdom, where voting is usually restricted to people over the age of 18.

 

Exit ticket

Exit ticket

Recommendations

  • 4 mins
  • Individual
  • Support activity


Student instructions

No instructions


Teacher notes

The aim of this activity is for students to reflect on what they learned and what they found difficult in the lesson.

 
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