Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Why Bother To Vote In Florida?

Gloria Davis


This lesson provides opportunities for students to gain knowledge about the Florida 2000 Presidential Election, proposed changes in the process, and to practice communication skills, including listening and speaking.


The student actively participates in class discussions (for example, asking and responding to questions, explaining information, listening to discussions).


-Chart listing each studentís name in the class (see Teacher Preparation: Step 1)
-Several colored markers
-Handout summarizing events in the Florida Presidential election (see Associated File - -Summary & Proposed Changes-)
-Handout describing proposed changes in the election process (see Associated File - -Summary & Proposed Changes-)


1. Prepare a Voting Position chart including each studentís name with two columns : -Will Not Vote- and -Will Vote-.
2. Download the -Summary of Events- and -Proposed Election Changes in Florida- and make copies for each student (see Associated File - -Summary & Proposed Changes-). Review each document to become familiar with the content.
3. Acquire paper for students to make notes.
4. Acquire a variety of colored markers.


1. Ask each student to state his/her opinion regarding the Florida Presidential election process, limiting the oral statements to one minute. Use a chart to identify each studentís position regarding voting in a future Florida election. The two positions are -Will Vote- and -Will Not Vote-. Complete the chart. Then total each column to indicate the number who will vote and the number who will not vote in the future.

2. Explain that the social studies curriculum encourages students in Florida to actively participate as citizens. Citizens typically vote. However, it is best to become an informed voter and an informed non-voter. Todayís lesson will allow students to listen to other students with different opinions and change their opinions when they receive new information.

3. Distribute a summary of events, which occurred in the Florida November election (see Associated File - -Summary & Proposed Changes-). Read and discuss each event with the class. Distribute a list of changes made in election procedures in the county where the students attend school. Read and discuss each change (see Associated File - -Summary & Proposed Changes-). Explain that each student will be given an opportunity to change from the -Will Vote- position to the -Will Not Vote- position or vice versa. Give the students a few minutes to decide. Then record changes on the previously-used chart.

4. Request that students who are listening to the speeches listen carefully in order to decide whether to keep their current positions or to change their current positions.

5. Listen to the speeches from the five volunteers. Return to the original chart. Ask students who have changed their positions to state whether they will vote in future Florida elections. Make any changes on the chart.

6. Review the chart, pointing out the decision making paths of students who changed their original positions. Be sure to ask each student why positions were changed.

7. Remind the students of each change made. Emphasize the fact that they have become informed voters or informed non-voters of the future.


Students will be assessed by oral performance as indicated below:

1. Each student will make a one-minute statement of the opinion about the November election.
2. Each student will state the decision indicating -Will Vote- or -Will Not Vote-.
3. Each student will state how and whether or not information changed the decision/position.
Students must provide a rationale for their final decision regarding future voting.
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