Televised Debates: Candidates Take a Stand

Elementary or middle school scholars learn about the significance of the first televised live presidential debate between Nixon and Kennedy, all the while discussing what qualities make a good leader, what they can or can't learn about a person from a debate, and what it means to take a stand. Put it all together by having the class put together a guide book for voters on how to pick the best candidate.

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Instructional Ideas

  • Compare the JFK/Nixon footage with footage from recent presidential elections
  • Follow up with questions about what qualities candidates can't display in a debate by asking how candidates do demonstrate those qualities
Classroom Considerations

  • Internet and speakers are required in order to show clips from the debate

  • Wide variety of extension activities provide good avenues for further reflection
  • Smart questions about the power, limitations, and role of debates in modern elections

  • None