Student Voices, Student Votes

Social Studies

Marybeth Christiansen




          Voter turnout determines the direction of our national and local policy and leadership. Youth voices represent the future and with current voter turnout rates in the 18-24 category the priorities of young people are not as well represented as those of adults. National figures show that of all 18-24 year olds registered to vote only 51% actually voted. In the last NYC Mayoral Election it was only 21% of all registered voters. More young people need to be registered to vote and once they are registered, the need to get out to the polls.



          Students will analyze the problem of voter turnout among 18-24 year olds in New York City and Nationally . Students will create a strategy for getting more of Mott Hall High School students that are eligible to vote registered and all students committed to voting. Students create a PowerPoint presentation about youth voter registration and their strategy to present in Social Studies class for all four grade levels.



          Student Grouping:

Heterogeneous language groupings that are inclusive with language pairs will allow the teacher to check in with each group and offer support that can apply to the entire group. Work is differentiated by skill level (English proficiency), so students in the same group will support one another as they work through the same worksheet. In the groups, Students have clear roles so that each person has a specific task to complete. The rubrics they will have in front of them are familiar to them by this time, and are specific to expectations for group work and classwork. Students are groups in heterogeneous level groupings but always paired with a language partner for clarification and support in partner and group work.

Day 1 

        Define the Problem of Youth turnout for local and national elections. Define the Problem

        You will elaborate on the problem of youth voter turnout in your group using the Define the Problem: Worksheet#1


Day 2

        Gather the Evidence: You will research the effects of low youth voter turnout on local and national policy and leadership. Use the worksheet to gather the evidence.

        Example sources


        Identify the Causes: You will research the low voter turn out among 18-24 year olds in New York City and  identify the cause for lack of political participation

Day 3

        Evaluate an Existing Policy: Use the  Evaluation Worksheet to evaluate the current voter registration initiatives and voter education at Mott Hall High School. . 

        Develop Solutions: Work with your team to create ways of tracking student participation in voting. You may also want to look at student interest and commitment to voting once they read the age of 18

Day 3

        Select the Best Solution  (Feasibility vs. Effectiveness) Use the Feasibility Worksheet to evaluate your top three solutions.

        Use the notes from the evaluation of existing policy to create and evaluation rubric for your solution.

Day 4

        Organize an example of your solution.

        Select date, participants, location, advertising and content and distribute responsibilities to each group.

Day 5

        Host Event/Conduct Survey/Hold Planning Committee (may not be sequential depending on organization of event)

Day 6

        Evaluate the using the event rubric designed in the pre-organization lesson

        Create event calendar to present to Social Studies Classes.



Student Peer Evaluation Presentation Rubric

As you listen to the presentation give your peer groups a number for each of the following tasks.



Great 10

Very Good 8

OK 6

Missing 4

Topic related to assignment





I can understand the information





Information is correct







All the time 10

Most of the time 8

Some of the time 6

Never/None 4


& Conclusion





Presenter is engaged (doesn’t read their notes)





I can hear presenter





Subject in focus





Eye contact with Audience





Speaks Clearly





Answers Questions














                             Thank you for exploring and evaluating and coming up with a solution for this important problem. Voter registration is important for your individual future as well as the future of our nation. Your vote and the votes of your fellow students are important and a lifelong commitment to voting keeps our democracy healthy and strong. Your research and innovations around this subject are valuable and have the potential to improve lives within our school and in our wider society, even globally.




Come to discussions prepared, having read and researched material under study; explicitly draw on that preparation by referring to evidence from texts and other research on the topic or issue to stimulate a thoughtful, well-reasoned exchange of ideas.


Work with peers to set rules for collegial discussions and decision-making (e.g., informal consensus, taking votes on key issues, presentation of alternate views), clear goals and deadlines, and individual roles as needed.