Labor Daze


Today is Labor Day. Shouldn’t you have the day off today?

What is the most common job in your state?

  1. How accurate was your prediction?

  2. What surprised you about this map?

  3. What didn't surprise you about this map?

  4. What is the big trend you see in the map?

  5. Why do you think that is?

  6. What is one consequence of that trend?

  7. Is this legitimately good news?

  8. Do you plan to be a truck driver?

  9. Do you know any truck drivers?

  10. How different do you think this map would have looked fifty years ago?

  11. What do you think will happen when we mass-produce robot trucks?

  12. How does this map affect you?

  13. In an ideal world, what would the most common job in your state be?

  14. Write a question you'd like answered about this information?

  15. Why do we even have a Labor Day in the first place?

Learning Extension

You can see a slideshow from NPR's Planet Money of how the most common job in each state has changed, year by year, since 1978.

Action Extension

Today is Labor Day. Thank someone who labored for you today.

How many syllables are in caramel


Mike Drop

Are there more Johns and Mikes or more female members of the House GOP (Republican Party)?

  1. What story does the chart tell?

  2. Explain why that is the case.

  3. Because of the data from the chart, explain one consequence on American politics.

  4. Is this good news?

  5. Does this information surprise you?

  6. List one question you have about this data:

  7. 50% of Americans are female. 23% of Congress is female. Imagine that 50% of the House was female. Consider how that would that change American public policy. Describe three specific policies that would impact.

  8. Explain whether you personally think that would be a good change.

  9. 50% of Americans are female. 23% of Congress is female. List the top three reasons for this lack of gender parity:

  10. How different do you imagine this data will be in 40 years (if there is a Congress in 40 years)?

  11. How different do you predict this data was 100 years ago?

  12. How do you think the number of Johns or Mikes compares to the number of female House members of the Democratic Party?*

  13. What about the demographic (race,age, gender, religion, etc.) makeup and ideological (beliefs and values) makeup of the two major US parties explains this difference?

  14. A student of mine once asked, in exasperation, “How could any woman be a Republican?” How would you answer her question?

  15. Based on the terms lengths and the way members of the House and the Senate are elected, explain whether the Senate or the House is more male or female?*

  16. In the comments section below list the first year you believe the U.S. Congress will achieve gender parity and be 50% female:

*Visual Extension

*There are 7 Democratic House Members named John or Mike. Believe me, I read the entire list.

*Fun Fact-The following House members first names are real:

Learning Extension

Read more about all the Republican and Democratic women in the U.S. House from the Center For American Women and Politics

Action Extension

Find out how many women, Mikes, and Johns represent your state in the U.S. House of Representatives. Share your answer in class or online.

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Build a Candidate

AP US Government and Politics

According to polls, which of the following traits would be the biggest liability for a US presidential candidate: past marijuana use, being gay or lesbian, Mormon, Muslim, or atheist?

AP US Government and Politics

  1. How accurate was your prediction?

  2. How surprising was the information in the chart?

  3. How will this information be different for the 2028 election?

  4. Explain whether this information is good news.

  5. Consider all the traits in the chart and evaluate whether each trait would make your vote for a candidate more likely, less likely, or wouldn't matter:

  6. How different was your evaluation of presidential traits from that of the average American's?

  7. What questions do you have about the chart?

  8. The 2016 election was certainly a surprise for a lot of people. How much did the outcome of the 2016 election deviate from what your would expect based on the data in the chart?

  9. How much do you think that the election of Donald Trump (outsider, non-religious, had financial troubles, had affairs, etc.) will impact  the type of future Democratic or Republican candidates who run for office?

  10. List two generalizations you can make about American presidential trait preferences from the information in the chart:

  11. Do you think that the fact that presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg is a homosexual will hurt his chances to be president more than the fact that he is only 37?

  12. In the comments section, using the information from the chart, create an extremely unelectable presidential candidate:

Visual Extension


Action Extension

Do one of the following:

  1. Contact the Democratic National Party or the Republican National Party and give them five pieces of advice on nominating a presidential candidate based on the information in the chart:

  2. Write a letter to the American people telling them what they are wrong about regarding their desired traits for presidential candidates. Post it on social media or send it to your local newspaper (if you still have one).

  3. Make a poster or flyer or video advertisement for the unelectable presidential candidate you created in question 9 above.

Learning Extension

Read the entire Pew report on presidential candidate traits.

Our World In Data Extension


Our Animals in Drag Extension


Senate So White

White Americans are better represented in the U.S. Senate than any other racial group. What group has the least representation?

  1. How accurate was your prediction?

  2. What story does the chart tell?

  3. Explain why this racial disparity in representation exists?

  4. What is one consequence of this disparity?

  5. In a democracy, all people are supposed to be equal. Does this chart show that all people in America are equal?

  6. Describe a connection between the data from this chart and the Connecticut Compromise.

  7. What could remedy the inequality described in the chart?

  8. Should we remedy this inequality?

  9. The author of the editorial the above chart comes from proposes that D.C. and Puerto Rico become states. How would that impact the data from the chart?

  10. Descibe one policy change that would likely happen if all racial groups in America were represented equally?

  11. One students responded to this chart by making the claim that it doesn’t matter what race of politician represents a state or district as long as they do what is best for the country. Respond to this claim.

  12. What story does the chart below tell?

Learning Extension

Read David Leonhardt’s NYTimes editorial, The Senate: Affirmative Action for White People to learn a bit more about how racial disparities in politics works.

Action Extension

Read the comments on David Leonhardt’s NYTimes editorial, The Senate: Affirmative Action for White People then leave your own comment.

Political Animal Extension

Screen Shot 2018-09-19 at 9.10.14 PM.png

A Woman's Place Is In The House...Of Representatives

AP US Government and Politics

Which three states have never had a woman representative in the House or the Senate?

  1. How accurate was your prediction?

  2. How surprised are you by this information?

  3. How did your own state and district do in regards to female representation?

  4. What story does the map tell?

  5. Do you notice any big geographical patterns in the map?

  6. Explain whether this is a happy map or a sad map.

  7. Why do you think these three states have never had any representation?

  8. What is one consequence of never having elected a female for these three states?

  9. Vermont and Mississippi are about as politically and culturally different as any two states could be. Why do you think they both agree on not having female representatives?

  10. It's been said that the gender of the politician isn't important, what matters are the policies they fight for. In the comments section, explain whether you think this statement is true:

Learning Extension

Check out this great article and interactive map at Vox where you can find out about female representation in your own state and ditrict.

Action Extension

Vote for a woman or convince someone else to vote for a woman. Better yet, lobby your political party (Emily's List for liberals, the NFRW for conservatives) to run women for office. Or best of all, if you are a woman, run for office.

Bonus Maps