The Political Spectrum

Educator Toolkit: Peoples Guide to the Federal Budget

Activity Type: Group
Chapter: 3
Objective: Students will be able to place issues on a political spectrum and identify where they are most likely to position themselves

  1. On a classroom wall post the numbers 1-10 on 8x11 sheets of paper. 1 is most conservative. 10 is most liberal.
  2. On sticky notes write the following and give one set to each group (one word/phrase per card). (Note: feel free to add others.)
    • Pro choice under all circumstances
    • Pro-life except for rape or incest
    • Increase taxes on top 1% of earners
    • No bailouts for companies
    • Increase military spending
    • Increase environmental regulation
    • Pro-unions
    • Privatize education
    • Decriminalize marijuana
    • Anti gay marriage
    • Pro nuclear power
    • Anti nuclear weapons
    • No women in combat
    • Race should be a factor in college admissions
    • Public access to all public buildings
  3. Have student groups decide where on the spectrum each sticky note should be placed.
  4. Once all are posted, hold a full-class discussion.
  5. Ask the students to write a short reflection on their individual position on three of the above statements.

Extension Activity: Ask the students to find an OpEd or letter to the editor in a newspaper that clearly has a liberal or conservative bias. Ask them to write a five-paragraph commentary on how and why they believe it is liberal or conservative. Ask them to also articulate their personal views in relation to the author’s opinions.

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