American Race

Whites are no longer the majority (more than half) racial group in California. In what year will Whites cease to be the majority racial group in the entire U.S.?

  1. How accurate was your prediction?

  2. What most surprised you about the data from the chart?

  3. If demographic trends continue, at some point, American will become (like California is now) minority-majority. In other words, Whites will still be the biggest group (plurality) but they will not longer be more than half of the population (majority). Approximately what year will this happen?

  4. What's the big story this chart tells?

  5. List two causes of the changes reflected in the chart?

  6. List two consequences of the changes reflected in the chart?

  7. How does the information in the chart impact the following linkage institutions: elections, mass media, political parties, interest groups?

  8. Explain whether the changes reflected in the chart is good news or bad news?

  9. In what way are the changes expressed in the chart reflected in your own life?

  10. Jot down one question you have about this chart?

  11. Make a prediction for what this chart will look like in 2080 America (if there is a 2080 America):

  12. My student, Esméralda, said that a direct consequence of the data in the chart was the election of Barack Obama and the election of Donald Trump. Explain how both those things could be true.

  13. How do you think the demographic changes reflected in this chart impacted the 2016 election?

  14. Explain how the projected American racial changes will impact overall American political culture and values?

  15. In the comments section, write about how the changes reflected in the chart are impacting politics in the US today.

  16. In Letter From Birmingham Jail, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. defends the use of civil disobedience to fight for civil rights. Based on his letter, explain Dr. King’s position on fighting for equal rights today.

  17. Imagine you were a political party leader. Describe one step you would take regarding this data.

  18. Explain how you think the following people would respond to this chart and explain why:

  • Liberals

  • Conservatives

  • Republicans

  • Democrats

  • Dr. Martin Luther King

  • James “Tiny” Madison

  • Donald Trump

  • Your grandparents

Visual Extension


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Learning Extension

Check out these 10 charts on the changing face of America.

Learning Extension Extension

Do yourself a favor and dive into the 1619 Project from the NYTimes. And you can find curriculums, guides and activities for students developed by the Pulitzer Center at pulitzercenter.org/1619.

CONVO Extension

Join in dialogue with your class on the topic of race. Here’s how CONVO works.

Action Extension

Find out the demographics of your county or city and make a comparison of your local data with the national data. Make a post comparing your hometown to the nation at large on social media with the hashtag #changingamerica

We're Number 1

AP US Government and Poverty

How does the poverty rate in the U.S. Compare with other OECD* (wealthy) countries?

*The OECD, or the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, was founded in 1948 and is made up of 36 member countries. It seeks to improve the economic and social well-being of countries and their populations. The OECD looks at issues that impact people’s everyday lives and proposes policies that can help to improve the quality of life.

  1. How accurate was your ridiculous prediction?

  2. Why do you think your guess was so wrong?

  3. How do you think the average American would answer this question?

  4. What story does this chart tell about poverty and the United States?

  5. Based on what you know about American history, politics, and political ideology, why do you think America’s poverty rate is the highest of the wealthy world?

  6. How does this high poverty rate impact American politics?

  7. Is this information good news or bad news?

  8. Are you proud that our poverty rate is three times higher than the Czech Republic?

  9. Describe one policy could lower the poverty rate.

  10. Describe one policy that could raise the poverty rate.

  11. In general, explain whether the policies of the current president will increase or decrease the poverty rate.

  12. Describe one method the U.S. president can use to make policy about Poverty?

  13. Describe one method the U.S. Congress can use to make policy. about poverty?

  14. List three departments or agencies of the U.S. bureaucracy that deal with poverty in America.

  15. Imagine that you were an interest group whose goal was to lower poverty. Describe two methods you might use to try to achieve your goals.

  16. Imagine that the average American knew the information from the chart above. Explain How that knowledge would alter American policy regarding poverty?

  17. The Pew Research Center has found that among Americans in families making less than $10,000 (the lowest income group they studied), 24.5 percent voted. Why do you think such a low rate of people with a low socioeconomic status vote?*

  18. What is one consequence of this low voter turnout?

  19. We also know that voting rates go up with income levels — the highest-income group, people in families making $150,000 or more, also had the highest turnout, at 56.6 percent. Why do you think increased income leads to increased voter turnout?*

  20. What is one policy change that would occur if the voting rate for poor and wealthy voters flip-flopped?

  21. How has the U.S. poverty rate changed over the past 50 years?*

  22. How does race and ethnicity impact the poverty rate in the U.S.? *

  23. The Preamble of the United States Constitution states, “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence (their spelling not mine!), promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.” Based on the poverty statistics above, does our government succeed at promoting the general welfare?

  24. If you could wave a magic wand and make the U.S. poverty rate (17.8% of all people) similar to that of Finland (5.8%), what would be a consequence of this change?

  25. Elizabeth Warren and other presidential candidates have proposed a 2% wealth tax, that would, among other things, lead to a decrease in the poverty rate. Make a claim about whether this wealth tax would be a good idea.

  26. A student named Ichabod, upon analyzing the data from the chart above said, “America is the land of opportunity. If you are poor in America it’s your own darned fault.” Respond to Ichabod’s claim.

  27. What claim would the following people make about the American poverty rate?

  • Typical American Conservative

  • Typical American Liberal

  • Typical American Libertarian

  • Typical American Socialist

  • Felicity Huffman

  • Typical American Democrat

  • Typical American Republican

  • The Current American President

Visual Extension*

Learning Extension

Check out all this cool Pew Research Center visual data on U.S. poverty and politics.

Action Extension

Ask three other people (in person) to predict how American poverty compares with the rich world. Then share the answer with them. Share their reaction on line or in class.

Cats Ringing a Bell for Dinner Extension

What Happens in an Internet Minute? 2019

GoPo Pro

How many snaps are created every minute?

  1. How accurate was your prediction?

  2. What's the most interesting fact from this infographic?

  3. What's the most disturbing fact from this infographic?

  4. What is the big story this infographic tells?

  5. In general, is this chart good or bad news?

  6. How does this internet minute most impact American politics?

  7. How does American politics most impact this internet minute?

  8. Explain which you think has more impact on your life: the U.S. government or the internet.

  9. A student named Jed looked at this data and said, “this is interesting, but it’s not politics.” How would you respond to that claim?

  10. Imagine their was an internet at the time of the Constitutional Convention. How would that have impacted our country’s founding?

  11. In Federalist No. 538, Alexander Hamilton wrote that “the interwebs will be the death of us all.” Do you believe Hamilton was right?

  12. What does your average internet minute look like?

  13. How does that most negatively impact you?

  14. What 2 questions do you have about an internet minute?

  15. Which of the companies/services from the infographic above do you use the most?

  16. Only one generation ago, there was no internet as we know it today. How do you think the internet has most profoundly changed your generation?

  17. How do you think an internet minute will be different in 10 years?

  18. What is the biggest change from 2016* (see below) to 2018 in what happens in an internet minute?

  19. How do you imagine this information impacted the 2016 presidential campaign and election?

  20. What is the biggest impact of the information from the infographic on how the U.S. government functions?

  21. Imagine the internet went down - for an entire year - describe the three biggest impacts that would have on your life.

  22. Imagine the internet went down - for an entire year - describe the three biggest impacts that would have on American politics.

Learning Extension

Check out the Teens Fact Sheet from the Pew Research Center about internet consumption by U.S. teenagers.


Action Extension

Did you know that offline, the average person will have 35 to 48 thoughts per minute? When you get home from school, take twenty minutes to be by yourself. Stay off the internet for the first 10 minutes. Notice how you feel. Pay attention to your thoughts and where they go. Notice every time you reach for your phone or computer. Be aware of the speed of time. Stop. Now go online for ten minutes. Notice how different these ten minutes were from ten spent offline. Share your results with friends or family or in class.

 

Visual Extension

2013

Our World In Data Extension

Speaking of the internet…

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Time To Vote

Warming Warning

How much warmer is the planet now than it was in 1980?

  1. How accurate was your prediction?

  2. What story does the chart tell?

  3. Make a claim that can be substantiated by data in the chart.

  4. Explain whether this story is good news.

  5. What is the most significant cause of the trend in the chart?

  6. What is the most significant consequence of the warming of the planet?

  7. The people who made most of this climate mess (my generation and older) won’t be around to suffer from it as much as your generation (and younger). The people who made most of this climate mess (the wealthy) won’t suffer nearly as much as the poor. What do you think about that?

  8. What is the Trump administration’s position on whether the real information in the chart above is even true?

  9. What is the Trump administration’s position on what we should do about the trend in the chart?

  10. Last year, The Trump administration nominated oil lobbyist David Bernhardt to run the Department of the Interior, whose role it is to “manage and sustain” America’s lands. Describe the confirmation process that Bernhardt will have to go through to become the Secretary of the Interior.

  11. Today is the beginning of the Global Climate Strike. How are you fighting against climate change?

  12. What would you consider the most effective political method to fight climate change?

  13. Given the fact that the U.S. House of Representatives is Democratic controlled, and the U.S. Senate and the Presidency are both Republican controlled, Describe how difficult appointment processes like Bernhardt’s are.

  14. What are some tactics interest groups could take to try to fight A nomination or to generally limit climate change?

  15. List some government department, agencies, or groups that have a role in measuring or regulating climate change.

  16. Explain how the United States’ federal system impacts our ability to tackle climate change.

  17. Donald Trump recently decided to take away California’s ability to have higher emissions standards than the federal government. How will increasing emissioins impact Climate change?

  18. How is that an example of Federalism?

  19. What would a supporter of states’ rights say about trump’s plan to take away California’s regulatory power?

  20. What steps could California take to stop trump’s plan?

  21. Climate change is clearly one of the most significant threats to our future. What about our political system has made it so hard to do anything to solve this problem?

  22. Climate is never mentioned explicitly in the U.S. Constitution (neither were elevators, airplanes, self-driving cars, Intercontinental Ballistic missiles, or ROOMBAs). What clause in the U.S. Constitution empowers the U.S. government to tackle climate change?

  23. How do demographics (age, political party) impact American’s views on climate change? (see chart below)*

  24. Explain why the young and the old have such different opinions about climate change.

  25. Why do you think Americans are more worried about climate change under trump than they were under Obama? (see below)*

  26. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez released a Green New Deal outline today. In our divided government, how likely is this New Deal to become a reality?

  27. In a democracy, public opinion on an issue (climate change) and public policy on that issue should be aligned - maybe not perfectly, but at least closely. Given that American pubic opinion does not closely match U.S. public policy regarding climate change, what claim would you make about the level of democracy in America?

  28. What is one policy the government could implement to help ameliorate the problem of climate change?

  29. What is the most effective thing you could do to fight climate change?

  30. In general what argument would adherents of the following ideologies make about the role of government in solving the climate change problem:

    Liberal

    Conservative

    Libertarian

    Socialist

Visual Extension*

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Learning Extension

Plug your city or town into the temperature calculator to see how much your home has warmed. Here’s mine…

Action Extension

In question #19 you were asked to list the best way to fight climate Change. Take one step towards that action now and share your step in class or online.

Our World In Data Extension

Goodbye

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Ban the Ban

Between 1994-2004 there was a ban on assault weapons in the United States. What do you think happened to the number of gun massacres and fatalities during the time of the ban?

AP US Government and Politics

AP US Government and Politics

  1. How accurate was your prediction?

  2. List one question you have about this data:

  3. What is the big story this data tells?

  4. Why do you think that is?

  5. What is one consequence of the fact that we since 2004 we have not had a ban on assault weapons?

  6. If you were to fill in the chart for gun massacres and fatalities from 2014-2024, what do you imagine the numbers would look like so far?

  7. Based on the data in the charts alone, do you think that an updated assault weapon ban would make America safer?

  8. The Preamble To The U.S. Constitution states, “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.” Regarding gun violence, would it be fair to say that our government is insuring tranquility, providing defence (that’s how they spelled defense back in the olden days, yo!), and promoting welfare?

  9. Let’s say you are the POTUS. What actions could the executive branch of the U.S. Government take regarding guns?

  10. What actions could the legislative branch of the U.S. Government take regarding guns?

  11. What could the judicial branch do about those actions?

  12. The Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution reads, “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” In your reading and understanding of this Amendment, can the U.S. government regulate, restrict, or ban guns or ammunition?

  13. In the Supreme Court’s reading and understanding of the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and through its ruling in McDonald v. Chicago (2010), can the U.S. government regulate, restrict, or ban guns or ammunition?

  14. In your opinion, explain whether the U.S. government may regulate, restrict, or ban individual ownership of SAMS (surface to air missiles).

  15. One argument about guns goes like this: if you ban assault weapons eventually you will ban shotguns and when you ban shotguns, eventually you will ban handguns, and when you ban handguns eventually people will no longer be free. This is called a slippery-slope argument. What do you think of this specific argument?

  16. Imagine that the Supreme Court invalidated any executive or legislative attempts to limit guns. What legal recourse could be taken to try to ban guns?

  17. Explain whether it is likely that we will Amend the Constitution to repeal the Second Amendment.

  18. Walmart asked customers to refrain from openly carrying firearms in its stores, and also announced it would no longer sell certain ammunition, including bullets for handguns and assault-style rifles – joined a growing list of national chains that have taken action to minimize the presence of firearms at their stores. This decision is legal, but is it a good decision? Make a claim about Walmart’s decision.

  19. Explain whether people who live in countries like Canada, Australia, Japan, or Iceland which have strict gun regulations and dramatically less gun violence than the United States are less free than Americans.*

  20. Do you think that video gaming is a major cause of gun violence in the US?*

*Visual Extension

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Action Extension

Contact your federal legislator or POTUS and share your opinion on an assault weapon ban.

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