How can students create change by activating our democratic processes?

We’ve all seen the dire news stories about youth voting statistics and youth civic knowledge.

We see the statistics, but we also know that young people aren’t apathetic. They care deeply about their communities, and—if we give them the opportunity—they want to have a voice in how their communities are run.

We also know that young people can have a major impact on voting outcomes, as evidenced by recent elections. Youth need to be equipped with the tools to be informed and engaged in the political process!

Mikva Challenge has prepared this curriculum for students to learn about elections, campaigns, and candidates, and to identify and reflect on their own ideologies as they get involved in the electoral process.

We believe that the best way for students to learn civics is to “do civics.” With that in mind, this curriculum includes multiple opportunities for action, from registering voters to campaigning for candidates. Look for "Taking Action" ideas throughout!

Using This Curriculum

The Elections in Action curriculum is by no means a one-size-fits-all manual, since we know no one approach can meet the needs of every classroom. In fact, this curriculum was expressly designed by and for educators so you can pick and choose lessons that best suit your needs and the needs of your students.

Teachers use this curriculum in a variety of different contexts and across a wide range of grade levels, including in core subject area classes, in advisory, as an elective course, or in an after-school club.

Given this range, we have designed the lessons to allow for maximum flexibility, choice, and adaptability. You may find the need to modify some lessons in order to differentiate for the needs of your students by providing more challenge or more scaffolding, and we offer suggestions and adaptations. Pick and choose according to your class's needs!

Each lesson has been mapped to the Common Core State Standards and C3 Standards for 11th and 12th grade, but can be modified for use with younger students. Lessons use our Bell-Ringer, Before, During, After method and are written for a 50-minute period, with the understanding that pacing is flexible.

Addressing Equity

“The great force of history comes from the fact that we carry it within us, are unconsciously controlled by it in many ways, and history is literally present in all that we do.” —James Baldwin

The mission of Mikva Challenge is to develop youth to be empowered, informed, and active citizens who will promote a just and equitable society. We ground all of our action civics process on students improving their community in ways that address root causes of problems. In order to understand today’s issues and political challenges, students need to understand the history that brought us to our current world. This version of the curriculum provides some of that context and perspective so students can place their civic action work within a continuum. This curriculum embraces student exploration of topics of social identity and it how it shapes civic identity, privilege, and oppression so that students can form their own opinions and work to effectively solve root causes to societal problems. Our core Issues to Action process includes attention to developing empathy and engaging in civic discourse to encourage a diversity of opinions, with the understanding that sustainable change requires engaging people of all viewpoints and experiences.

Gender Pronouns

This iteration of Elections in Action has paid particular attention to issues of equity and inclusion. To this end, we utilize the non-gender pronoun of “they” throughout. Learn more about gender neutral pronouns.

Third-Party Website Disclaimer

This curriculum includes third-party links or materials that are provided solely as a convenience to you as educational resources and you access and use them entirely at your own risk and subject to such third parties’ terms and conditions. As a nonprofit corporation and 501(c)(3) public charity, Mikva Challenge devotes its efforts toward its charitable mission and does not promote or endorse third-party sites.