Participation Structured Academic Controversy

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Curriculet Details
15 Questions
28 Annotations
1 Quiz

In this activity students will explore ways citizens are linked to their governments and can participate in the political system. Additionally, they students will explore voting in depth, and specifically analyze voter ID laws being passed around the nation. Their goal is to compare and contrast both sides of the argument, "Voter ID laws prevent voter fraud and protect elections" and "Voter ID laws are a violation of one's constitutional rights and unfairly discriminate against certain groups" in an effort to form their own opinion. As discussion of this content usually falls within the second unit in many AP Government & Politics classrooms, having a foundational knowledge of the Constitution, Federalism and basic vocabulary related to elections and participations is suggested. This activity can also be enhanced by taking pauses as a class or in small groups to discuss each source, the argument being presented, evidence, bias, etc.

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Participation Gobstopper Activity.docx

In this short clip the Two AP teachers discuss participation in government. (This annotation contains a video)
In this clip the Two AP teachers explain all there is to know about American political parties. We are of course primarily a two party system (Republicans and Democrats), but we also have a variety of third parties that try to enhance the debate and represent issues the two main parties aren't paying enough attention to. (This annotation contains a video)
Sample AP QuestionWhich of the following is the most accurate statement about political parties in the US? 
In this article from Aljazeera you can read about the hurtles that many third parties face in our electoral process. (This annotation contains a link)
In this clip the Two AP teachers discuss everything the AP exam will expect you to know about Interest Groups. It's important to recognize that Interest Groups have been under closer scrutiny lately. Why? With the Supreme Court decision in Citizen's United v. FEC (2010) an enormous amount of money has flooded into politics, some of it from Interest Groups.  (This annotation contains a video)
Sample AP QuestionInterest groups and political parties both promote United States democracy by 
You can visit the NAACP's official website for more information. Their organizational history is rich, and they have greatly influenced civil rights in the United States. One key case they argued before the Supreme Court was Brown v. Board of Education (1954), and the AP will expect you to be familiar with the details of that case.  (This annotation contains a link)
The National Riffle Association is one of the largest interest groups in the country, and it has been in the media spotlight recently. Due to the amount of gun violence in the nation, politicians have been stepping up their consideration of new gun laws. The NRA is opposed to any legislation that would limit a citizen's Second Amendment rights, and they have lobbied heavily to keep those rights. (This annotation contains a link)
The NEA is committed to advancing the cause of public education. You can check out their website to find out which issues they are currently working on.  (This annotation contains a link)
In this clip the Two AP teachers discuss how the mass media impact politics. (This annotation contains a video)
This article from the Huffington Post explains how social media is impacting politics, and in light of recent scandals involving politicians and their use of social media outlets it is a worthwhile read.  (This annotation contains a link)
On the Media is a program produced by National Public Radio or NPR. They are a great resource for analyzing media bias and helping you investigate media. (This annotation contains a link)
In this clip from PBS a more in depth summary from each side of the argument is outlined. (This annotation contains a video)
Think like a historian:Consider this source. Does it sound liberal or conservative? Might it be biased?Make a prediction:What perspective and tone is this article likely to have about Voter ID laws?   
In this interactive feature from the New York times you can see which states are passing these laws. Notice any trends in their geography? Why might that be? (This annotation contains a link)
If you need a refresher on the history of Jim Crow laws, check out this link. This website offers excellent and concise contextual information for the AP exam.  (This annotation contains a link)
Sample AP questionThe 24th Amendment 
This info graphic shows the various forms of identification that are acceptable under the new Voter ID law in Texas. Although it is specifically for Texas, their requirements are similar to those in other states. (This annotation contains a link)
Here is a link to Silver's blog that the author mentions. (This annotation contains a link)
Think like an historian: Stokley Carmichael is a civil rights leader who during the 1960s worked tirelessly to register African Americans to vote. Do you think the author's use of his idea is a fair one to make in this case? Explain why or why not. 
In this clip from the History Channel you can hear directly from the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee's Stokley Carmichael. (This annotation contains a link)
Proponents of voter ID laws often cite "voting in graveyards" or "zombie voting", in which people who are deceased somehow end up voting, as a reason to support new legislation. (This annotation contains an image)
Think like an historian: Does this statistical evidence seem reasonable and accurate? Explain why or why not. 
Think like an historian:Consider the source and author of this article? Is the New York Times considered to be liberal or conservative? What events in the author's personal history might inform his writing?  Make a prediction:What perspective and tone is this article likely to have about Voter ID laws?   
Think like an historian: Does one's personal experience with voter suppression and racism make them an authority on recognizing it in the future? Explain why or why not. 
This link offers excellent information related to the Voting Rights Act of 1965. This law often comes up on the AP exam and it is suggested that you know the basic history behind the legislation. (This annotation contains a link)
In this documentary short from the New York Times comedian Mo Rocca explores voting in America, and the problems associated with it.  (This annotation contains a video)
Does you believe the actions taken by the government of Florida are fair to citizens? Explain why or why not? 
Governor Pat McCrory has been a vocal proponent for his state's voter ID law. (This annotation contains an image)
To learn more about the Heritage Foundation you can check out their official website. It is important that you have some basic knowledge of these types of organizations, as it could come in handy when writing FRQs or essays. (This annotation contains a link)
Champions of voter ID laws cite the numerous places that require and ID to prove that it isn't a burden on an individual to produce a proper ID to vote. (This annotation contains an image)
Think like an historian: A) Can you think of any political examples where the media has blown a story out of proportion?  B) Is McCrory right to think the media is blowing his state's law out of proportion? Explain why or why not. 
You can read more about provisional ballots on North Carolina's official website. (This annotation contains a link)
The Department of Justice is a key part of the federal bureaucracy. You can go to their official website, which is linked here, to find out their precise role in our democracy. The AP often asks multiple choice questions about different departments of the government so it is a good idea to have a general idea about what each one does. (This annotation contains a link)
Think like an historian: Read the highlighted paragraph closely.  A) What missing information could make this a more compelling argument?  B.) Despite the missing evidence, do you believe this opinion to be a legitimate one? Explain why or why not.  
For more on the work of the American Civil Liberties Union you can check out their official website here.  (This annotation contains a link)
Think like an historian:Does the statistical evidence provided in the highlighted text seem credible?  Explain why or why not. 
For more on Texas check out this clip from NBC News.  (This annotation contains a video)
The Indiana law was upheld by the Supreme Court. You can read the link from Redstate, a conservative blogging site, for more information directly from the Court's opinion.  (This annotation contains a link)
In the second installment of the New York Times's "Electoral Dysfunction" series Mo Rocca examines what forms of ID are acceptable and how that impacts voting. While you watch it think about the point being made here. Is presenting a valid and correct ID really too much to ask of voters?  (This annotation contains a video)
Sample FRQ from the 2003 AP examCitizens often choose to participate in the political process in ways other than voting. A. Identify two forms of participation in the political process other than voting. B. Explain two advantages of each form of participation you identified in (a). 
Think like an historian: A) Describe the tone of this final paragraph. B) Does the author's tone here make his argument more or less compelling? Explain. 
In a brief essay please explain which side of the debate you support and why.  Remember to strengthen your own argument by citing appropriate evidence from the sources you analyzed.   
Sample AP Questions-Participation Quiz