Political Parties

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Lesson At A Glance

This is the beginning lesson on political parties which is part of a unit on elections and the political process. Students will work in groups to explain one of five political parties in their own words. They will research the history of the Party and the party’s position on five major political issues.


  • Students will demonstrate an understanding of the party they researched. Students will understand the difference and similarities of various political parties.

Standards Addressed:

History Social Science

8.3.6 Describe the basic law-making process and how the Constitution provides numerous opportunities for citizens to participate in the political process and to monitor and influence government (function of elections, political parities, interest groups).

Common Core State Standards for ENGLISH LANGUAGE ARTS & Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects

College and Career Readiness Anchor Standards for Reading Grades 6-12

Key Ideas and Details

1.  Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text.

2.  Determine central ideas or themes of a text and analyze their development; summarize the key supporting details and ideas.

Integration of Knowledge and Ideas

8.  Delineate and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, including the validity of the reasoning as well as the relevance and sufficiency of the evidence.

College and Career Readiness Anchor Standards for Writing Grades 6-12

6. Use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing and to interact and collaborate with others.

Research to Build and Present Knowledge

7.  Conduct short as well as more sustained research projects based on focused questions, demonstrating understanding of the subject under investigation.

8.  Gather relevant information from multiple print and digital sources, assess the credibility and accuracy of each source, and integrate the information while avoiding plagiarism.

9. Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.

Big Ideas:

  • The strength of a democracy is equal to the strength of its citizens.

Essential Questions/Issues:

  • How do citizens participate in their government?
  • How do political parties fit into the American system of government?


Students will demonstrate their understanding of political parties through the anticipation reaction guide, the political party they researched and created a poster for, their presentation, and correctly filling in a graphic organizer showing the similarities and differences between various political parties.

Click here to download assessment tools

Activity Steps:

Click here to download activity steps

Day One - Students are given an anticipation/reaction guide. They guess which of these are correct. They will revisit this at the end of the lesson to retake it and see if any of their answers changed after learning about political parties.

Students number off by 5 and form groups of six. One person from each group randomly draws the name of the political party their group will be assigned from a hat. Students in the group will make and present a poster on the political party they chose. Each person within the group signs up to research a section of the poster. Turn a copy of the sign up list in to me.

Day Two - Students research their section of the poster in the lab. Homework -They complete their research and rough draft section of the poster. Come to class with ideas for general layout of the poster. (I give the students a week to complete this task.)

Day Three- Using their rough drafts, students will work together to create a fmal draft poster. See handout for poster requirements.

Day Four- Students work on and rehearse their poster presentations.

Day Five & Six- Students present their posters. Audience takes notes on the presentations on their graphic organizers.

Special Needs of students are considered in this lesson: 

In this lesson students will be heterogeneously grouped to meet the needs of all learners. Samples and examples will be available to assist students.   In my classes my GATE students are in one class.

Materials and Resources Needed:

  • Lesson handouts attached
  • Directions for the assignment
  • A rubric 
  • The web and/or newspapers
  • Magazines such as Time, Newsweek
  • Poster paper
  • Markers
  • Colored pencils

Student Handouts:

Download student handouts here