Top Ten Events

AP US Government and Politics

Please name the 10 historic events that occurred in YOUR lifetime that you think have had the greatest impact on the country. This could be one specific event, a series of related events or any other historic development or change that had an important impact on the nation.

Pew Research Center

AP US Government and Politics

  1. What generation are you a part of?

  2. Which generation was your list of the 10 most important events the most similar to?

  3. What generation was your list the most different from?

  4. Overall, what surprised you most about these lists?

  5. Overall, what do these lists tell us about the US?

  6. What is the biggest generational difference these lists reveal?

  7. Of all the historical events listed on all these lists, explain which event, 50 years from now, will not still be on any list?

  8. In the long run, do you believe that September 11 will end up being more historically significant to our country than WWII?

  9. How different do you think this list would be for someone from Africa OR A PERSON FROM ASIA?

  10. Respondents were asked to include only events from their lifetime. If you were allowed to add any event which has occurred since 1901 to your list, how would your list change? 

  11. What do you think the generation that included the Framers of the Constitution would have listed as their top events?

  12. Explain how different these lists would be for a conservative and a liberal of the same generation*:

  13. Describe How race and ethnicity impacts these lists*?

  14. Obama's election was ranked 2nd on the list for the most recent generations, and near the top for all the generations. Explain what was so important about Obama's election?

  15. This question was asked before Trump's election. How do you think Trump's election will rank on the list of the 10 historic events that occurred in YOUR lifetime that you think have had the greatest impact on the country.

  16. Let's call the generation born after 1998 (that's you) the igeneration. Explain the main way your generation is different from the Millennial Generation:

  17. Now that fake news makes such an impact on society, and people have difficulty distinguishing real from made-up events, explain whether we will have fake history, and thus very different lists of important events in the future:

Learning Extension

Read the Pew Research Center report on each generation's most important events.

Action Extension

After you make your list, share it with friends in person or online and ask them for their own list of top 10 events. From that data, compile a list of the most important events for your generation to share in class or online.

VISUAL EXTENSION*

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Our World In Data Extension

Our Animals in Clothing Extension

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Obstacles to Equality?

AP US Government and Politics

Do you think that most Americans agree with the following statement: "Significant obstacle still make it harder for women to get ahead then men."

Pew Research Center    AP US Government and Politics

Pew Research Center

AP US Government and Politics

  1. How accurate was your prediction?

  2. How surprised are you by this data?

  3. Do you believe that, "Significant obstacle still make it harder for women to get ahead then men." 

  4. Give one example to support your opinion:

  5. According to the data, what demographic groups most agreed with the statement that, "Significant obstacle still make it harder for women to get ahead then men."

  6. Why do you think Republicans and Democrats have such different views on this issue?

  7. What would be a good title for this chart?

  8. What do you think this data would have looked like 30 years ago, and what do you think this data will look like 30 years from now?

  9. What are some obstacles that make it harder for women to get ahead that have been removed in the past half century?

  10. What are some remaining obstacles that make it harder for women to get ahead that remain?

  11. Imagine you were the head of an interest group trying to remove obstacles to equality. Describe 2 methods your interest group could use that would be the most likely to produce change.

  12. Explain what role political socialization plays in this data.

  13. What does this data tell you about current American political culture?

  14. How do the Americans' attitudes about obstacles to women vary by race, ethnicity, gender, and education level?*

  15. In 1972 the Equal Rights AMendment** to the constitution was passed by 2/3 of congress and then was sent to the states to be ratified. 35 states ratified the E.R.A., but that did not meet the 3/4 threshold (38) states needed to ratify the amendment. If you were asked to vote on this amendment, explain how you would vote:

  16. WHat does the map of states that ratified the E.R.A. tell you about the geography of equality? *

Visual Extension*

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The Equal Rights Amendment**

Section 1. Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.

Section 2. The Congress shall have the power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.

Section 3. This amendment shall take effect two years after the date of ratification.

Learning Extension

Read this Pew report on attitudes about gender and obstacles.

Action Extension

List all the obstacles you can think of that make it harder for men to get ahead. List all the obstacles you can think of that make it harder for women to get ahead. Make a chart/poster/flyer about this and post it on the wall of your school or on social media.

Our World In Data Extension

Our Animals in Clothing Extension

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Moderation in all things except voting

AP US Government and Politics

Who is more ideologically extreme, the average American or the average American voter?

PEW RESEARCH CENTER

AP U.S. Government and Politics

  1. How accurate was your prediction?

  2. How surprising is this information?

  3. What is the big story these charts tell?

  4. Why do you think ideologically extreme people tend to vote more than ideological moderates?

  5. What is one consequence this information?

  6. Explain whether this is good or bad news:

  7. What effects do you imagine this information had on the 2016 and 2018 elections?

  8. Is there any mechanism in the way Americans vote that helps amplify the extreme vote?

  9. Explain why conservatives are more likely to vote than liberals:

  10. What percentage of statistics are made up on the spot?

  11. Who is the most moderate person you know?

  12. Would you consider them radically moderate?

  13. Do the more moderate people or the more extreme people you know tend to get more done?

  14. Explain how the U.S. media landscape has impacted the data from the chart?

  15. Describe what you imagine this chart looked like in 1950 and what it will look like in 2050.

  16. Describe one aspect of the U.S. Constitution built to moderate the will of the people.

  17. How do your own ideological leanings compare to the chart?

  18. Do the voting habits of people you know generally conform to the data from the chart?

  19. Only about 1/4 of moderate Americans actually vote. In the comments section, tell moderate U.S. voters whether they should vote or not:

Visual Extension

Learning Extension

Read this Pew Report on extreme voters.

Action Extension

Contact one of the two major U.S. political parties- the Democratic Party or the Republican Party and explain to them whether it would benefit them to run more extreme or more moderate candidates.

Our World In Data Extension

Our Animals in Clothing Extension

Church and State and Church and State

AP U.S Government and Politics

GoPo Pro

Imagine the entire population of the U.S. is 100 people. Out of 100, what number of Americans would be Muslim?

AP U.S. Government and Politics

AP U.S. Government and Politics

  1. How accurate was your prediction?

  2. What surprised you most about these numbers?

  3. Based on these numbers, what generalization could you make about religion in American?

  4. Based on the data from this chart, would it be accurate to call the United States a Christian nation?

  5. If you were running for President of the United States and you had never been a religious person, but you needed to choose a religion to pretend to be to make the most people vote for you, what religion would you chose, and do you think it would work?

  6. How do you think these numbers have changed in the last fifty years and in the last 10 years?*

  7. How different do you think these numbers will be in the future?**

  8. How do you think the fact that 71% of all Americans are Christians impacts American politics?

  9. Is it reasonable to think that a country that is 71% Christian is going to have a high wall of separation between church and state?

  10. Fact: one out of every 100 Americans is Muslim. What do you think the average American would guess that number is?

  11. Fact: 23% of Americans are non-religious (unaffiliated). How do you think this growing number influences American politics?

  12. Of all the American religious (and non-religious) groups listed above which do you think the is most reliably Republican and which is the most reliably Democratic?***

Visual Extension*

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**

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***

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WOW!

WOW!

Learning Extension

The Pew Research Center has a great interactive map where you can look at the specifics of religious affiliation in your state. Check it out!

Action Extension

Talk to someone of a different religious background from your own and try to understand how their religion impacts their politics. Share your finding in class or online.

Our World In Data Extension

Animals In Clothes Extension

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Active Youth

Were young Americans (age 18-24) more politically active in 2016 or in 2018?

  1. How accurate was your crazy prediction?

  2. What trend do you see in the data?

  3. Why do you think that is?

  4. What is one consequence of this change?

  5. Explain whether Donald Trump would have won election in 2016 if youth had been as politically active in 2016 as they were in 2018.

  6. Whether you are 18-24 or not, would you say that the chart accurately describes your experience regarding young Americans and their political participation?

  7. How much of the jump in political engagment is a reaction to Donald Trump?

  8. Based on the data in the chart, how would you describe overall youth political activism?

  9. Explain whether the data from the chart is good or bad news.

  10. List one question you have about this data:

  11. Describe a specific policy change that might come about because of this change between 2016 and 2018?

  12. Explain whether you think young people will be even more politically active in 2020.

  13. What are some policies and politicians that are especially popular with today’s engaged youth?

  14. Imagine you were a political operative trying to increase youth political engagement. What step would most likely increase youth political activism?

  15. Imagine you were a political operative trying to decrease youth political engagement. What step would most likely decrease youth political activism?

  16. Explain whether the data from the chart is good news for the Republican Party.

  17. Describe the role political socialization plays in the results from the chart.

  18. Federal law requires that you must be 18 to vote in national elections. What is the age requirements for each of the political activities listed in the chart above?

  19. How many of the actions listed on the chart have you done?

  20. Describe how political party affiliation impacts youth political engagement.*

Learning Extension

Check out this CIRCLE report on the politics of people like you (give or take a few years).

Action Extension

Engage in one of the political activities listed in the chart, and share your experience in class or online.

Our World In Data Extension

Our Zoo Animals In Clothes Extension

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David Bowie Extension

Purple Country

GoPo Pro

Are there currently more solidly Democratic or solidly Republican states in the United States?

GoPo Pro

GoPo Pro

  1. How accurate was your prediction?

  2. How surprising was the data from the table?

  3. What has happened to the number of solidly Democratic states over the past few years?

  4. Why do you think that is?

  5. Based on the table, how has the number of solidly Republican (red) states changed over the past decade?

  6. How many competitive (purple) states are there?

  7. If the number of competitive states increases what will probably happen to elections to the U.S. Senate?

  8. Why is that?

  9. Explain whether the growth of competitive states will have the same impact On U.S. House elections?

  10. List three Government policies that are probably different in states that are very red versus states that are very blue?

  11. Why is that?

  12. Describe the redness/blueness/purpleness of your state, district, and neighborhood.

  13. If you were to move to a state with a party affiliation most like yours, where would you move?

  14. In the past, neighborhoods and cities were full of both Republicans and Democrats. Demographers tell us that we are becoming more likely to live in communities of similar party affiliation. How will this impact the data in the table and how will that influence American politics?

  15. Explain how the number of competitive states impacts presidential elections?

  16. What is the most Democratic state in America?*

  17. What is the most Republican state?*

  18. What geographical patterns in party affiliation do you think are reflected in a map of this data?

  19. Explain whether the data from the table is good news.

  20. What impact do you think the policies of the current Republican POTUS, House and Senate will have on the number of solidly Republican states in 2020?

Visual Extension*

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Learning Extension

Read the Gallup report on states and party affiliation.

Action Extension

Find out about the political party affiliation of U.S. Senators and see if they roughly match the data from the table. Contact any Senators who do not reflect their state's political party affiliation and ask them to move to another state or resign from the Senate.

Our world in data Extension

Pro Tip: Don’t smoke!

Valentine's Day

AP US Government and Politics and Candy

According to the American general public, what is the most important reason to get married?

  1. How accurate was your prediction?

  2. What most surprised you about this information?

  3. Is the information from the chart generally good or bad news?

  4. Let’s say that the government wanted to increase the number of marriages in the U.S. List two policies the government could make to Achieve its goal?

  5. There is a U.S. Department of energy, and the interior, and Treasury. Do you think there should be a U.S. Department of love?

  6. If so, who would be the secretary of love?

  7. I once taught with a man named Dr. Love! I also once had a student named Ms. Love. Then again, growing up, my neighbor was Rusty Peacock and I had a schoolmate named Marshall Law. For real, What is the best Valentine’s name you have ever heard?

  8. Explain which of the reasons listed in the chart is the best reason to get married.

  9. Explain which is the worst reason to get married.

  10. If someone told you that they were getting married for financial stability, after you slapped them right in the chops, what would you tell them?

  11. Do you plan on marrying?

  12. Compared to older generations, Does your generation plan on getting married?*

  13. Why do you think that is? Does that matter?

  14. Would the socioeconomic status of a person impact the likelihood of you marrying them?

  15. Are Americans more likely to marry outside of their faith today than in 1960?*

  16. Why do you think that is?

  17. Until very recently, LGBTQ people have not had the legal right to marry in the US. What is America’s opinion of same-sex marriage now?*

  18. What is your opinion of the fact that same-sex marriage is now legal?

  19. Was answering these questions a pretty romantic way to spend Valentine's Day, or what!?!

  20. Ask your beloved Valentine the same question on your big Valentine's Day date and see what they say/if they slap you.

Visual Extension*

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Learning Extension

Check out all the great love and marriage charts at Pew.

Action Extension

Interview five married people and five unmarried people. Ask them to name the best 3 reasons for marriage. Compile your date, compare the results of the two groups, and share it online or in class, then get married.

GoPo Valentine’s Day Card

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Here is your GoPo Valentine's Day Gift

Polarizing Brands

US Government and Politics

We know American politics are extremely polarized. But what brand or company in America is the most polarizing?

  1. How accurate was your prediction?

  2. What most surprised you about this list?

  3. What does this information tell you about American politics?

  4. Explain what has caused such a huge political divide in business in America?

  5. What is a consequence of this polarization in business?

  6. Explain whether all this polarization is good news or bad news.

  7. If you had to evaluate the brands and companies on the list which would you classify as favorable and which would you classify as unfavorable?

  8. Can you think of a brand or company that is NOT polarized (in other words, Democrats and Republicans would be equally likely to support/buy/purchase that brand or company)?

  9. They say that people either go to Cracker Barrel or go to Whole Foods, but very few people go to both. In fact, over the past few years I’ve only had one student say they regularly go to both! Can you think of another equally polarizing divide in your experience?

  10. How polarized are sports in America?*

  11. Is there any part of American life that is not polarized?

  12. I went to a concert the other night celebrating the life of a local rhythm and blues musician. Afterwards I went to a “honky-tonk” country bar. The groups of people at the two events could not have been more different and (I imagine) politically polarized (Democrats at the first, Republicans at the second). Now I’m trying to think of the last time that I went to an event that was equally attended by people of different political persuasions (both Republicans and Democrats). Describe the last time you were at an event that had equal number of Republican and Democratic types.

Visual Extension*

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Learning Extension

Read this story from Morning Consult about why pizza chains are more popular among Republicans!

Action Extension

Try to get a group of 5 to 10 polarized people to get together for lunch at school. Describe how hard it was to get the group together and what the lunch was like. Or, if it was too hard to gather polarized people, take our How Do We Vote? challenge.

Comfort Pets on Planes Extension

This is real!

Do you think she is a Democrat or Republican?

And what about the lady?


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Who are You?

Of the following characteristics, which did Americans say was the most important in describing themselves?

  1. How accurate was your prediction?

  2. What most surprised you about the data?

  3. What is one question you have about the data?

  4. What is the big story this data tells?

  5. Why do you think that is?

  6. What is one consequence of this?

  7. We hear all the time about how politically divided the United States is, however in the data, political party ranked near the bottom of the list. How do you explain this?

  8. Is it easy to separate your political party from your occupation or social class?

  9. How different do you think this chart would have looked in 1950?

  10. American political culture is made up of all kinds of identities. According to the data in the chart above, Americans claim that family status is the most important identity in describing themselves. Do you think that is true,, and if so how do you think this impacts American politics?

  11. And if it is not true, what do you think is truly the most important American identity?

  12. Some people claim that when we talk about identity or group membership (race, class, gender), it divides and separates us. They would claim that we are all Americans and that is all that matters. Explain whether you agree or disagree with that claim.

Learning Extension

Read the NYTimes analysis of the data.

Action Extension

Take the NYTimes interactive identification sorter and share how your results compare to the nation, in class or online.

Visual Extension

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Foreign Born In the USA

As of the last U.S. census what percentage of Americans were foreign born*?

*(Not U.S. citizens at birth)

  1. How accurate was your prediction?

  2. Is this a good thing?

  3. Be sure to read all the way to the end to see a hilarious animal extension!

  4. What story does this tell about the change in the foreign born population in America over time?

  5. What is one cause of that change?

  6. What is one consequence of that change?

  7. What story does this data tell about where the United States is today?

  8. Is this the largest percent of foreign born Americans ever?

  9. What percent of the signers of the U.S. Constitution were born citizens of the United States?**

  10. Who was the first American president who was born an American citizen?***

  11. What might an American Indian say to an American ho was concerned about the percent of people living in this land who were not citizens at birth?

  12. In 2016, were more more foreign born Americans Hispanic or Asian?****

  13. If you asked the average American to guess the percent of foreign born citizens what would they guess?

  14. If you asked the average Donald Trump voter to guess the percent of foreign born citizens what would they guess?

  15. What would a typical American liberal and a typical American conservative say about the percentage of Americans who are foreign born?

  16. What is one current policy of the Trump administration that can be connected to this data.

  17. What percent of foreign born Americans are unauthorized immigrants?****

  18. Here’s what the U.S. constitution says about the U.S. census. “ The "Census clause" or sometimes called the "Enumeration clause" is found in Article I, 1, § 2, cl. 3 of Constitution.  After taking into account the removal and additions that have occurred with later amendments, that clause reads as follows:  "Representatives . . . shall be apportioned among the several States . . . according to their respective Numbers . . . . The actual Enumeration shall be made within three Years after the first Meeting of the Congress of the United States, and within every subsequent Term of ten Years, in such Manner as they shall by Law direct."  Further, Section 2 of the Fourteenth Amendment states that "Representatives shall be apportioned among the several States according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each State, excluding Indians not taxed."   

    The Trump administration wants to add a question to the 2020 U.S. census asking about citizenship status. Why do you think they are doing this?

  19. What do you think will be one effect of this question?

  20. If you were an undocumented alien do you think that would make you more likely or less likely to complete the census?

  21. Do you think the census should count the number of people in the United States?

  22. Do you approve of having a citizenship question on the census?

  23. How does the census connect to federalism?

**None!

***Martin Van Buren (1782-1862) was the first president to be born a citizen of the United States and not a British subject.

Learning Extension

To learn more about the American foreign born population read the U.S. census report. And check out these fantastic interactive resources from the Pew Research Center on the foreign born population!



Action Extension

Find a foreign born American in person or online and ask them to tell you how being foreign born impacts their political views. Share what you learned in class or online.



Visual Extension****

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Hilarious Animal Extension!

Add a caption to the photograph in the comment section below.

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