Iran, I ran so far away!

What percent of Americans support military action against Iran?

  1. How accurate was your prediction?

  2. What is the big story the chart tells about the U.S. and Iran?

  3. Why do you think that is?

  4. What is one consequence of this?

  5. Is this good news?

  6. Explain how political party affiliation impacts views on Military action against Iran.

  7. Explain what percent of you supports military action against Iran.

  8. How much does public opinion usually impact President Trump’s policy decisions?

  9. Do political trustees or delegates rely more on public opinion in formulating policy?

  10. The polling data above comes from the summer of 2019. Since then, Iran appears to have launched strikes against Saudi oil infrastructure leading Secretary of State Pompeo to call this, “an act of war.” How much will These Iranian provocatins impact the likelihood of war?

  11. Who do American’s believe are America’s biggest enemies?*

  12. How do you rank these five enemies on a scale of 1 (the biggest threat of these five) to 5 (least threat)?*

  13. Who would you rank as America’s biggest allies?

  14. Multilateralism is a diplomatic/military approach where allies join to solve problems or fight wars together as opposed to fighting alone. Do you imagine that America will be able to rally our allies behind a war against Iran?

  15. Has POTUS Trump made American alliances stronger or weaker?

  16. President Trump’s “hyperbole and outright fabrications through a daily tweet diet,” said Wendy R. Sherman, who negotiated the details of the Iran deal for the Obama administration (notice her point of view), has left him with “little credibility with Congress, allies and partners, let alone the American people.” Based on what you know about American politics make a claim about the accuracy of Sherman’s statement.

  17. President Trump just named Robert O'Brien as National Security Adviser. Prior to his appointment, O'Brien had been perhaps best known for his efforts to win the release of American rapper A$AP Rocky, who was held in a Swedish jail after being arrested for his involvement in a Stockholm brawl. Explain how the fact that the National Security Advisor does NOT need to be confirmed by the Senate impacts the kind of person picked for this job.

  18. The N.S.A. director serves as a chief national security advisor for the president as a member of the National Security Council. What is the National Security Council?

  19. N.S.A. director O’Brien is a hawk, a term used in politics do describe someone generally favoring war as a strategy to achieve political goals (a dove is someone who generally opposes war). How much will a hawkish approach impact America’s response to Iran?

  20. What role does the U.S. Congress play in making war?

  21. Hey, speaking of taking action: what are you doing for the Global Climate Strike tomorrow?

Visual Extension*


Learning Extension

Read this article about Trump’s ability to persuade our allies.

Action Extension

Political scientists Calculate that it generally takes participation by approximately 3% of Americans in a cause to make a difference in national policy. Contact the White House or your U.S. senator and express your opinion on military intervention in Iran.

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The Price of Power

Happy Constitution Day!

How often does the top spending candidate win their race for the U.S. House of Representatives?

  1. How accurate was your prediction?

  2. In 2016, how often did the candidate running for congress who spent less than their opponent win?

  3. What is the big story this chart tells?

  4. Why do you think that is?

  5. What is the most important consequence of that story?

  6. Is this story good news for American democracy?

  7. For whom is this good news?

  8. Explain whether the information from the chart above makes it more or less likely that you would run for office in the U.S. Congress one day.

  9. Based on the data from the chart above, make a claim about money and politics in the U.S.

  10. What did the U.S. Constitution say about money in politics?

  11. Based on the data from this chart, when we say,”House of Representatives,” What is the House representative of?

  12. What question do you have about this data?

  13. Respond to this argument a student named Brett made. “The top speding canidate should win the race, because the best candidate will get the most money, so we are just electing the best candidate.”

  14. Respond to the argument made by A student named Bjork who said, “We have a government by the rich, for the rich, and of the rich.”

  15. Explain whether the data in the chart moves the United States more towards democracy or towards plutocracy?

  16. Let’s say that a group of Americans wanted to do something to make the highest spender less likely to win election. What is one action they could take?

  17. What would a typical American liberal say about this chart?

  18. Explain whether the U.S. Congress is likely to pass a law making the highest spender in an election less likely to win.

  19. In general, which costs more a U.S. House seat or a U.S. Senate seat?*

  20. Describe what has happened to the cost of seats in the U.S. congress over the past 40 years.*

  21. Why is that?*

  22. So????? *

Visual Extension*

Learning Extension

Read 10 Things Every Voter Should Know.

Action Extension

Register to vote before it’s too late. If you are already registered or ineligible to vote, help register someone who is eligible to vote.

Happy Constitution Day!

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These are the 10 largest media markets (metropolitan area) listed by Nielsen.

  • New York (#1)

  • Los Angeles (#2)

  • Chicago (#3)

  • Philadelphia (#4)

  • Dallas-Fort Worth (#5)

  • Washington, D.C. (#6)

  • Houston (#7)

  • San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose (#8)

  • Boston (#9)

  • Atlanta (#10)

What American media market had the most ads in the 2016 presidential election?

  1. How accurate was your prediction?

  2. How surprising is this information?

  3. Were any of these top presidential ad media markets in the top ten biggest media markets in the United States?

  4. Based on the data in the chart make a claim about media markets and presidential campaigns.

  5. Explain why the biggest spending in the presidential campaign happened in media markets, none of which are among the top ten biggest media markets in America.

  6. What political science term do we use to describe American states that are very evenly split in terms of political party affiliation?

  7. What is a consequence of all this ad spending happening in these particular media markets?

  8. Imagine you were the campaign manager for the Donald Trump 2020 presidential election campaign make a claim about why spending in top markets like New York (#1), Los Angeles (#2), or Chicago (#3) would be a waste of money.

  9. In the 2016 elections, U.S. House campaigns spent $971,524,520, and U.S. Senate campaigns spent $674,985,540. Using your knowledge of American politics, explain why more money was spent on U.S. House races than on U.S. Senate races.

  10. Explain whether you think Senate or House campaigns are more likely to spend money in the top ten media markets?

  11. The other day, a GoPo student we shall call Rudolph said, “advertising doesn’t really help campaigns. Democrats vote for Democrats and Republicans vote for Republicans. Respond to Rudolph’s claim using your inside voice.

  12. In 2010, Citizens United v. FEC ruled that limits on political advertising were violations of the First Amendment guarantee of free speech. How has that ruling impacted American politics?

  13. Let’s say you didn’t like the Citizens United ruling. What political action could you take to try to limit its impact?

  14. Many democratic countries limit the amount of spending, veracity of content, and timing of political ads. Make a claim about whether the U.S. should place more limits on political spending?

  15. How would banning political ads impact political campaigns and their results?

  16. In general, what do Americans think about political ads?*

  17. Of the following mediums (formats) which had the biggest spending in the 2016 election: newspaper, digital, broadcast TV, radio, cable TV, out of Home (whatever that means)?*

  18. What has happened to the rate of digital ad spending over the past 12 years?*

*Visual Extension

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Learning Extension

Read about the most expensive races in the 2018 election.

Action Extension

Make an advertisement (this could be a script, storyboard, digital image) for your favorite 2020 presidential candidate and share it in class or online.

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Budget Me Elmo

What US Government department or agency has the largest budget for Fiscal Year 2020?

  1. How inaccurate was your crazy prediction?

  2. What most surprised you about this crazy data?

  3. When you think about where the largest portion of the money goes, what is the big story this data tells?

  4. Why is that?

  5. What is one political consequence of this distribution of money?

  6. Explain whether this is good or bad news.

  7. How surprised would the average American be by this data?

  8. How much input do you personally have in the budgetary process?

  9. Let’s say that you wanted to influence the budgetary process as much as possible. What would be the most efficacious first step to take to wield the most influence?

  10. The department with the highest budget is the Department of Health and Human Services ($1.2 TRILLION!!!) What exactly is all this money going for?

  11. And what about the Social Security Agency? What does that money go for?

  12. In the budget for Fiscal Year 2020 the Department of Defense (fights wars) gets 706 BILLION dollars while the Department of State (prevents wars) gets 24 BILLION dollars. Explain whether you believe that is a good ratio of spending.

  13. I like the defense department. I do not want the U.S. to be invaded by Canada, Jamaica, or North Korea. At the same time, I like the environment, and the Defense Department budget is over 100 times larger than the budget of the Environmental Protection Agency. Explain what you would like the ratio on military protection versus environmental protection to be in the ideal world.

  14. Explain which department or agency is the most underfunded.

  15. Explain which department or agency is the most overfunded.

  16. If you could change the budgetary spending in on way, what would you change?

  17. Who decides on the budget?

  18. How is the budgetary process an example of checks and balances?

Visual Extension *


Learning Extension

Learn about the U.S. government’s budgetary process.

Action Extension

Remix the U.S. budget as you see fit. Share your new budget in class or online.


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.