Presidential elections in the United States every four years are opportune times to capitalize on current events to teach children about the electoral process. The U.S. Elections Lap Book kit gives you a hands-on way to teach about presidential elections, a subject that might otherwise be boring to many students.
Designed for ages eight and up, the kit is probably most ideal for students in grades four through eight. It covers topics such as the various forms of governments, the three branches of our government, suffrage, the election process, political parties, the electoral college, and inauguration. There’s more than enough content for students up through sixth grade within the kit, but you should probably expand your teaching for students in junior high and above with activities such as reading the election-related sections of the Constitution of the United States, relating what they are learning to both past and current elections, and expanding the discussion to include state and local elections. The kit might also be used within the context of a course in U.S. government.
The U.S. Elections Lap Book kit provides all the consumable materials necessary to complete the project, saving the parent a significant amount of time and money. It comes in a sturdy box that includes a 27-page full-color instruction manual, pre-assembled file folders, a large packet of pre-printed pages (including colored paper and cardstock) that will be used to construct lap book components, glue, double-sided tape, brads, a piece of felt, and Velcro. You need to supply only scissors, colored pencils, a regular pencil, a push pin or needle, and staples.
Students will be constructing a complex lap book with multiple layers and many components. They will do lots of cutting, coloring, folding, and pasting as they construct colorful components for their lap books. The instruction book has explicit instructions with illustrations. Younger children might need some assistance to get things exactly right, while older students can construct the lap book on their own.
Instruction takes place as they put together the lap book. One of the first items to construct is a 24-page elections booklet that teaches all about elections. The booklet goes into the lap book, and students will frequently refer to it for information. Much of the information that goes into other lap book components is preprinted, but a few times there is an option to have students copy the information or write in their own.
Parents need to take time to make sure that they are reading and discussing each topic as students are putting together their lap books. Otherwise, it’s just an impressive arts and crafts project. (The instruction book tells when to read the information contained within the kit.)
It’s up to parents to make connections to current events, and this is the aspect of this study that I believe can make the subject especially interesting. As I write this review, we are gearing up for the 2020 presidential election, so there are plenty of election-related events in the news every day, and it seems like each presidential election cycle hardly ends before it’s starting up again. If you want to use this study in an off-season for elections, you can always revisit past elections to use as examples.
Note: This lap book kit is based on the U.S. Elections Lap-Pak. The Lap-Pak provides only the digital files, so it requires much more work by parents.