March Madness: Classroom Resources for the Illinois Primaries and Super Tuesday

by Mary Ellen Daneels, Civics Instructional Specialist

Photo by Element5 Digital on Unsplash
Do you have your brackets ready for March Madness? No, we are not referencing the college basketball playoffs, rather the flurry of political contests next month that provide a unique learning opportunity for #CivicsInTheMiddle classrooms, as nearly two-thirds of the delegates to the national conventions will be selected by month’s end.

The nation will be closely watching the results of Super Tuesday on March 3rd as the race for White House heats up. Closer to home, the March 17th Illinois primaries will provide an opportunity for #CivicsInTheMiddle classrooms to explore candidates for congress, the Illinois General Assembly, the state judiciary as well as important local races.

This past week, Dr. Shawn Healy, Director of the Democracy Program at the Robert R. McCormick Foundation, hosted our second #Election2020 after school webinar that reviewed the presidential contest results to date and previewed what to look for on Super Tuesday. Dr. Healy also provided an overview of the races to watch in Illinois. If you missed the 45-minute webinar, you can access a recording.

Each webinar concludes with classroom resources you can use to engage students during this election year. Here are some of the resources shared in the last webinar:
  • The 2/17 #SSCHAT shared resources around Teaching the 2020 Primaries.
  • The Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE) created a 2020 Election Center to track youth voter registration rates, their views on the candidates, and their involvement in the political process.
  • The Teaching for Democracy Alliance has resources to equip teachers and administrators to engage students in elections and voting is a productive and safe way.
  • Mikva Challenge curated five lessons to help students take Elections to Action.
  • iCivics has a number of online games and lesson plans to help students navigate the Road to the White House.
  • Looking for some online quizzes to match your students with candidates? Try iSideWith or
  • Ballotpedia has resources for students to see who is on the ballot in their region
  • FiveThirtyEight is tracking polls in contested congressional races
  • The League of Women Voters of Illinois has an overview of the election calendar for Illinois and links to non partisan voter guides.
  • Project Vote Smart’s Vote Easy platform compares candidates in both presidential and congressional races by their positions on key issues.
What resources are you using to engage your student in #Election2020? Please comment below. Together, we can prepare ALL students for college, career and civic life.

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