Ay Ay Ay Ay Phone

AP Government and Politics

After the iPhone was first released in 2007 what happened to the percentage of 12th graders who drive?

  1. How accurate was your prediction?

  2. What most surprised you about this information?

  3. How well does this chart reflect your generation?

  4. Do you have more friends without a license or without a smart phone?

  5. What is the big trend you see in the data?

  6. Why do you think that change is happening?

  7. What is a consequence of this change?

  8. Clearly, the iPhone and other smart phones have had a big impact on driving. Explain what impact you think this technology has had on U.S. politics:

  9. There are clearly some negative effects of the ubiquity of smartphones. List any positive effects of smartphones:

  10. Smartphone technology has also disrupted other aspects of social life for young people. Describe other changes this technology has brought to your generation:

  11. What exactly are kids doing on their smartphones that is more compelling than driving around?

  12. The day I turned 16 was the day I got my license. Everyone I knew got their license as soon as possible and almost all of us had cars. Obviously, these cars had a tremendous impact on where and how we lived: suburbs boomed, mobility increased, our country fought wars to insure control of the oil we sucked from the ground. How is the rise of the smartphone going to impact how your generation lives?

  13. Is there any other technology that has as profoundly shaped your generation as the smartphone?

  14. Overall, is this chart good news? Would the U/S/ be better off without smartphone technology?

  15. What do you think this chart will look like in 20 years?

Learning Extension

Read this endlessly fascinating Atlantic Magazine article about you and your generation!

Action Extension

Tell your iPhone, "Siri, destroy yourself! And see what happens. Also, go 14 hours without your smart phone (I bet you can't do it!) and reflect on how this data drout impacted your life. Share your reaciton in class or online in the comment section below.

Sad Bonus Charts

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What Happens in an Internet Minute? 2018

AP US Government and Politics

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

  10. What does your average internet minute look like?

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

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

  13. 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?

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

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

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

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

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

  19. 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

Our World In Data Extension

Our Animals in Clothing Extension

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Media es Tudia

AP US Government and Politics GoPoPro

What is the number one media platform news source for U.S. adults?

AP US Government and Politics

  1. How accurate was your prediction?

  2. What most surprised you about this data?

  3. Describe the most significant trend in this chart.

  4. Explain the cause of that trend.

  5. Describe one important consequence of that trend?

  6. Explain whether the information from the chart is good news.

  7. Where do you get most of your news?

  8. Describe what you think this graph will look like in 10 years.

  9. If the gap between television news and online news closed by 12 points in only one year, at what point do you think online news will surpass television news?

  10. 18 percent of adults get their news from newspapers. What do you think that percentage was in 1958?

  11. How many people of your generation often get their news from newspapers?

  12. What would you consider the biggest two differences between news in newspaper versus news online?

  13. When I was in high school I delivered the newspaper. How many high school students have you met who deliver newspapers? Give them a slap.

  14. How do you think the information contained in this chart is impacting the U.S. political process?

  15. Imagine that we lived in an era without online news (no Twitter, no facebook, no snapchat). Do you think Trump would have won the presidency?

  16. What year do you think the last American newspaper will be printed?

  17. What demographic differences do you think there are in the platforms where people get their news?*

  18. What age group do you think is mostly driving the move to digital media?*

  19. We know that many people simply watch news that reinforces their political biases. This is called selective exposure. In other words, Conservatives watch conservative news, and liberals watch liberal news. Nobody changes their mind. Explain how much of the news you watch simply reinforces the political views you already possess.

  20. Discuss the impact of selective exposure on American politics.

*Visual Extension

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Learning Extension

Check out the Pew Report on the growth of online news and also the Pew Research Center digital news fact sheet!

Action Extension

Change your news platform for one week (e.g. if you mostly get your news online, use radio as your main news source) and share how this impacted your view of the news in class or online.

Animals Watching News Extension

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Our World In Data Extension

Our Animals in Clothes Extension

Tweeter-in-Chief

AP US Government and Politics

Who has more Twitter followers: LeBron James, Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, or The New York Times?

  1. How accurate was your prediction?

  2. What most surprised you about this data?

  3. What is the big story this data tells?

  4. How much has Trump's Twitter following increased over the past 2 years?

  5. Do you think anyone in the universe has more Twitter followers than Donald Trump?*

  6. Did more people vote for Trump in 2016 or follow Trump on Twitter?**

  7. Do you think that Twitter has been overall good or bad for America?

  8. What impact does the Trump Twitter account have on US and global politics? 

  9. What overall impact does social media have on US politics?

  10. Jimmy Carter once said that as president he preferred the power of the bully pulpit to the power of the veto. Do you think he was right to say this?

  11. Do you think Trump would agree with Carter?

  12. What does Article II of the U.S. Constitution say about the president's power and the use of Twitter?

  13. If the Framers rewrote the U.S. Constitution (don't worry, they aren't planning to) do you think they might trade in the mandatory State-of-the-Union Address for mandatory Tweeting?

  14. Counterfactual time. Imagine the Trump candidacy or presidency without Twitter. How do things change?

  15. The kinds of things that Donald Trump regularly tweets out would doom almost any other politician. Explain how he gets away with his Tweets:

  16. Marshall McLuhan, the late-great media thinker wrote that, "the medium is the message." What do you think he meant by that and how does that relate to the Twitter account of @realDonaldTrump?

  17. Who do you think is @thefakedonaldtrump ?

  18. Facebook and Twitter have banned users for racist and inflammatory comments. Do you believe Twitter should ban @realDonaldTrump ?

  19. Barack Obama has even more Twitter followers than Trump. If those two men ran against each other for president (they can't - 22nd Amendment!) who do you think would win?

  20. If Abraham Lincoln had a Twitter account what would his handle be?

  21. Rewrite the U.S. Constitution as a Tweet:

*Learning Extension

Check out the list of the people with the most Twitter followers and also Article II of the U.S. Constitution below.

Action Extension

Tweet @realDonaldTrump and ask him if he would prefer the power of the veto or the power of Twitter? Share your experience in class or online.

**2016 presidential vote total

Clinton 65,853,516

Trump 62,984,825

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You News, You Lose

How has the way we get our news changed since the 2016 election?

  1. How earth-shatteringly accurate was your prediction?

  2. Identify one trend you see in the data.

  3. What do you think is one cause of that trend?

  4. What is one consequence of that trend?

  5. Explain whether the information from this chart is good or bad news.

  6. What do you think these numbers will look like 10 years from now?

  7. Imagine that you traveled back in time to the year 1918 and told the average person that newspapers (then the totally dominant source - no TV, no radio, definitely no Instagram) would not be a major news source in 100 years. After they complimented you on your super-cool clothes, what do you think they would say to you about your no-newspaper prediction?

  8. 100 years from now, when Kim Kardashian’s great-great-great-grandchild is president, do you think we will even still have websites and social media to get our news?

  9. How do you predict (be creative here) our news will come to us then?

  10. How do you think the rise of social media news impacts American political campaigns and elections?

  11. How do you get your news? Compare your numbers to those of the charts (above and below).*

  12. How does the way we get our news vary by age?*

Visual Extension*

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Learning Extension

Read the Pew article on media usage you’ve been hoping to get for Christmas right now!!!!

Action Extension

Use a different source to get news each day of the week. Compare and contrast the accuracy and value of the different sources and share your analysis in class or online. Here’s your schedule: Monday, print; Tuesday, social media, Wednesday, radio; Thursday new website; Friday, television.

Who let the watchdogs out?

What % of American adults think that criticism from news organizations keeps political leaders from doing things that shouldn’t be done?

  1. How accurate was your prediction?

  2. What trend do you see in the data?

  3. Why do you think that is?

  4. What is a consequence of this trend?

  5. For the most part, people of both parties pretty much agreed that the watchdog role of the media was a check on the presidency until 2017. What changed?

  6. During Stalin’s reign of terror he labeled anyone opposed to him as an “enemy of the people.” The term in Russian is “vrag naroda,” and it not only meant death for you but state persecution of your family. Do you think it is dangerous for the president to label the press as the “enemy of the people”?

  7. Explain whether you think that criticism from news organizations keeps political leaders from doing things that shouldn’t be done.

  8. There is now a large partisan gap in Americans’ opinion regarding the watchdog role of the press. How do you think that the growth of social media and the web has impacted this gap?

  9. There is a 44 point gap between Democrats and Republicans regarding the role of the press. How do independents feel about the watchdog role of the press?

  10. What formal Constitutional powers does the president have as a check on the press?

  11. What steps has our president taken regarding the watchdog role of the press?

  12. What does the First Amendment say about a freedom of the press?

  13. What did the Supreme Court rule regarding press freedom in New York Times v. Sullivan?

  14. John McCain was asked in 2017 whether he regards the press as the enemy of the people. “I hate the press,” responded McCain, perhaps tongue-in-cheek. “But the fact is, we need you. … If you want to preserve democracy as we know it, you need to have a free and many times an adversarial press.” Compare Donald Trump’s views on press freedom with those of John McCain.

  15. There is a 44 point gap between Democrats and Republicans regarding the role of the press. How do you think partisanship impacts opinions about media bias and media trustworthiness?*

Visual Extension*

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Learning Extension

Check out the data and analysis of partisanship and the media from the Pew Research Center.

Action Extension

Contact the President and ask him to explain his position on freedom of the press and whether he plans to continue calling the press the “enemy of the people?”

Cartoon Extension

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Fact or Opinion

What age group is best at telling factual news statements from opinion news statements?

  1. How accurate was your prediction?

  2. What most surprised you about this data?

  3. What story does the data tell?

  4. Why do you think that is?

  5. What is one consequence of Americans not being able to tell fact from opinion?

  6. The Fairness Doctrine was a 1949 FCC (Federal Communications Commission) rule designed to minimize any possible restrictions on free speech caused by limited access to broadcasting outlets. The idea was that, as one of the conditions for receiving an FCC broadcast license, a station had to "devote reasonable attention to the coverage of controversial issues of public importance," and consequently had to provide "reasonable, although not necessarily equal" opportunities for opposing sides to express their views.

    Because of the Fairness Doctrine, talk stations had to hire and program symmetrically: if you had a three-hour program whose host's politics were on one side of the ideological spectrum, you had to have another long-form program whose host more or less spoke for the other side. In 1987 the Fairness Doctrine was repealed during the second term of President Ronald Reagan. What has been the impact of the repeal of the Fairness Doctrine?

  7. Explain whether you think the government should reinstate the Fairness Doctrine.

  8. How would American politics and the media change if we brought back the Fairness Doctrine?

  9. Given five facts, only 17 percent of people over 65 were able to identify them all as factual statements. Take a look at the statements below and see if you can distinguish fact from opinion.

  10. Republicans and Democrats were more likely to factual and opinion news stories as factual when they favor their side. Why do you think that is?

  11. Do you do that?

  12. What is a consequence of this?

  13. What could the media do to make people more aware of the difference between fact and opinion?

  14. What could the government do to make people more aware of the difference between fact and opinion?

Learning Extension

Read this article from the Atlantic Magazine about how horrible old people are…at telling fact from opinion. They’re great at everything else.

Action Extension

Take the fact and opinion quiz below and share your results in class or online - unless you fail miserably! And then get a person of a different age group from your own to take the quiz and see how they do.

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In Social media we trust

What percent of American adults think that the news they get on social media is trustworthy?

  1. What is wrong with those people?

  2. How accurate was your prediction?

  3. What story does the data tell?

  4. Based on the data, how much trust would you say Americans have in the media in general?

  5. How surprising is that?

  6. What trend do you see in trust in the media over the past three years?

  7. If you asked these same questions about the media (there was no social media then) in 1950 explain how different you think the answer would be.

  8. If you asked these same questions about the media (there may be no families and friends then) in 20 years explain how different you think the answer would be.

  9. Do you think that the news you get on social media is trustworthy?

  10. How much information do you get from social media anyway?

  11. Explain to me why Americans trust local news more than their friends and family, And why they don’t get some new friends.

  12. What percent of American teens think that the news they get on social media is trustworthy?

  13. How do you think this data impacts the American political system today?

  14. Seriously, does it shock you that over 1/3 of Americans trust the news they see on social media?

  15. Explain how this information has impacted how Donald Trump ran for office and how he rules today.

  16. Did you get that emergency alert from the president Yesterday? Pretty cool or pretty scary?

  17. How do you think answers to these questions differ by political party affiliation?

  18. How do you think American politics would change if the government outlawed news on social media (I know, I know, that would be a violation of the first amendment, just play along with me for the sake of argument)?

Visual Extension

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Hair Extension

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Learning Extension

Read this Pew Research report on the changing media landscape.

Action Extension

Go for two days without any news from social media and see how that impacts your knowledge and understanding of what’s going on. Share your experience and analysis in class or on (ironic) social media.




Ridiculous Animal Extension

(Yes, these are real, and there are more to come!)

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News Fake

When asked to respond to the following statement: criticism from news organizations keeps political leaders from doing things that shouldn’t be done, how similar were the responses of Democrats and Republicans?

  1. How accurate was your prediction?
    What is the story the data tells?

  2. Explain why Republican and Democratic attitudes diverged so dramatically after 2016.

  3. Describes one consequence in this divergence in attitudes between the two major parties.

  4. List 2 things you think the two parties actually agree on right now:

  5. Describe the trend in political partisan divergence in opinion toward the media’s watchdog role between 1985 and 2015.

  6. Explain that trend: If the news media could not expose government malfeasance what would stop government misbehavior?

  7. What is your personal response to the following: criticism from news organizations keeps political leaders from doing things that shouldn’t be done.

  8. How did American politicians criticize and respond to political leaders in the 18th century?

  9. Describe how you think this graph would change if a Democrat defeated Donald Trump in the 2020 election.

  10. Some people refer to the media as the fourth branch of government. What do you think that means and do you agree with that description?

  11. What keeps the government from disallowing criticism from the media?

  12. Do you think President Trump would ban media criticism if he could?

  13. Why do you think President Trump calls news he does not like, “Fake News?”

  14. Do you remember or know of any other presidents, Republican or Democratic, questioning the very validity of the the entire news media?

  15. Do you think he will?

  16. What kind of leaders ban the media?

  17. How would a conservative and a liberal respond to the idea of the news media being critical of the president?

  18. Of the following news media outlets rank them from top to bottom in terms of how critical they are of the current presidency.

    NPR

    CNN

    The Wall Street Journal

    The “failing” New York Times

    MSNBC

    The Huffington Post

    Fox News

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Learning Extension

Read the full Pew report on the partisan divide regarding the media’s watchdog role.

Action Extension

Follow the media closely for two days by watching the nightly news, listening to news on the radio, or following the news online. Calculate what percent of news coverage of the government is critical and what percent is not critical. Share your analysis in class or online.

Funny Animal Extension

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Let's Talk POTUS

At what grade level does President Trump speak?*

*The Flesch-Kincaid scale was developed in 1975 for the U.S. Navy to assess the relative difficulty of training manuals. A recent analysis assessed the first 30,000 words each president spoke in office, and ranked them on the Flesch-Kincaid grade level scale and more than two dozen other common tests analyzing English-language difficulty levels.

  1. How accurate was your prediction?

  2. What story does the data tell?

  3. How surprised are you by this information?

  4. Explain whether this is good news.

  5. How would a typical Republican or Democrat react to the fact that President Trump has by far the lowest level vocabulary of any of the past 15 presidents.

  6. At what grade-level does the average American speak?*

  7. At what grade-level do you think you speak?

  8. The highest level speaker on the entire list of presidents is Herbert Hoover, who is often ranked as one of the worst presidents ever. Harry Truman, on the other hand, often ranked as one of the best presidents ever, spoke at less than a 6th grade-level. Does it really matter how a president speaks?

  9. Apart from his vocabulary level, explain whether you would consider President Trump to be a good communicator.

  10. Explain how much a president’s ability to communicate impacts their likelihood of achieving their goals.

  11. How much do you think social media impacts the way a president communicates?

  12. Do you think that President Trump would be happy to know about his vocabulary level?

  13. Do you think that President Trump’s base is upset about the low level of his vocabulary?

  14. Who are some members of the president’s team and the White House staff who are responsible for the way a president speaks and communicates?

  15. At what grade level do you think Plaid Shirt Guy speaks? *(Hint, he’s in high school).

    *The average American speaks at an 8th to 9th grade-level.

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Learning Extension

Read the Newsweek article about presidential communication.

Action Extension

Watch a video clip on President Trump reading any speech, then read any one of President Trump’s tweets. Compare the vocabulary-level of the two and consider whether high vocabulary level makes communication more powerful. Share your thoughts online or in class.

MORE PLAID SHIRT GUY EXTENSION

REMEMBER, Plaid shirt GUY IS IN HIGH SCHOOL.

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