Electioneering
A 12th grade math project

In the Electioneering Project… students answer the questions “does my vote matter?” and “what is fair?” by analyzing how well their local congressional districts, and voting systems, represent the will of the people.

Academic skills & content: students learned various methods of measuring compactness, applying visual and spatial reasoning, geometric ratios and areas, and optimization to manipulate several variables while meeting real world constraints; voting criteria including Pareto, Monotonicity, and Independence of Irrelevant Alternatives; sequences and series in proportionality and the efficiency gap. Students studied voting theory, group theory, social choice theory, and topology.

Final products: all students create a poster explaining an existing voting system. In addition, students choose whether to develop and test their own new voting system, or to redraw congressional districts in order to make them more compact.

Suggested duration: 12 weeks

 

Created with the support of the California Department of Education California Career Pathways Trust


Core Practice 1: Model Critique
Core Practice 1: Model Critique

In this critique session, students study the “need-to-know” posters that students made last year, explaining different voting systems.

Students did this in order to set the standards for this year’s work, and to design the rubric that will ultimately be used to assess their own posters.

Below this text, you can find the graphic organizer students used for this critique, as well as the rubrics they generated for this project.

- RESOURCES -
Core Practice 2: Linking Content to Teens' Own Lives
Core Practice 2: Linking Content to Teens' Own Lives

In this podcast, teacher Mele Sato explains how she got students excited about congressional redistricting by literally starting from where they lived – studying maps to see how their communities were divided by district lines, and what that meant for how they were represented.

Core Practice 3: Tapping Into Teens’ Sense of Justice
Core Practice 3: Tapping Into Teens’ Sense of Justice

In this podcast, teacher Mele Sato explains how she got her students excited about the somewhat dry-sounding subject of alternative voting methods by using math to challenge their strongly-held, but mostly-unexamined convictions about what it means for something to be “fair” or “unfair”.

Core Practice 4: Rehearsal
Core Practice 4: Rehearsal

In this video, teacher Mele Sato explains how her students prepared for the Electioneering Project exhibition, focusing particularly on an “exhibition rehearsal” that her students performed with ninth grade students as an audience.

Core Practice 5: Exhibition
Core Practice 5: Exhibition

In this video, teacher Mele Sato explains what was exhibited at the Electioneering Exhibition, and how the students exhibited it.

 

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