Caucus 101:
A Curriculum For Iowans, By Iowans

In the midst of an election year with the Iowa Caucus quickly approaching, the Secretary of State wanted to give teachers an opportunity to engage their students through meaningful discussion and active participation. Developed by Iowa teachers for Iowa teachers, Caucus 101 is a curriculum designed for flexibility with an emphasis on social media enhancements to appeal to how students learn today.

The ultimate goal of Caucus 101 is to involve students, parents, and the community in civic engagement while educating them about Iowa’s unique role in the political process through modern technology and social media enhancements.

Discuss ideas with other teachers across the state using the discussion tab above. Feel free to submit feedback with suggestions to improve the curriculum and ideas for enhancements using the feedback form above. You can also offer suggestions for how to improve the Caucus 101 site to make it more applicable or user friendly.

How It Works

The Caucus 101 curriculum is easy to use and implement in the classroom. It is a seven-day curriculum with each lesson plan having three different options to accommodate the amount of instruction time teachers have to present the material and for their students to complete the activities.

Choose the option that suits your classroom. The best thing about the Caucus 101 curriculum is that it is completely customizable. Feel free to modify lesson plans to better align with your unique teaching style and your students’ needs. Keep in mind that the curriculum is designed to encourage participation and engagement for students, parents, and educators. Discuss your lesson plans and ideas with your fellow teachers, share your students’ work, and promote your classroom’s involvement on social media.

90
Minute Curriculum
60
Minute Curriculum
30
Minute Curriculum

As you know, education is ongoing and constantly evolving. Let us know what you think about the Caucus 101 website as well as the curriculum and how you plan to implement it in your classroom by submitting feedback using the form above. You can also share ideas and experiences with your peers in the discussion forum.

WHY CAUCUS 101

The Caucus 101 curriculum is unique in that it was created by Iowa teachers for Iowa teachers. Each lesson plan has been crafted to appeal to how students learn today, incorporating social media enhancements. Furthermore, Caucus 101 is pioneering a social media platform that has not been developed yet, allowing students, universities, and other civic groups to add their own social media enhancements. Finally, the curriculum eliminates geographical barriers by allowing teachers to see what other educators are doing in their classroom.

Student Benefits

Ease of use
Students will have the ability to upload their homework to the website and social media outlets.
Engagement
The curriculum encourages students to apply what they learn beyond the classroom by helping them become active participants in the community through a relatable medium they use every day.
Applicability
Students will learn life skills such as how to formulate an argument and engage in healthy, constructive debates.
Relevance
Through social media enhancements, students have the opportunity to become more invested in civic responsibilities such as learning about political candidates, attending the Iowa Caucus, and registering to vote.
Versatility
The curriculum and enhancements can be matched to student behavior and interests and appeal not only to students, but to parents and community members as well. Additionally, other civic groups can modify the curriculum to suit their needs while the social media enhancements initiate discussion and engagement within and beyond Iowa’s borders.

Teacher Benefits

Fulfillment
Caucus 101 fulfills the Iowa Core requirement for social studies in just 7 days.
Choice
Choose 90, 60, or 30 minute lesson plans.
Flexibility
Supplement what you already teach. Use as much or as little of the material as you want.
Convenience
Lesson plans are already completed and are tied to Iowa Core with clear learning objectives and downloadable lesson components.
Support
Submit enhancement ideas for other teachers to use or adapt and share your experiences with peers.
Interaction
Connect with students by utilizing the tools they use every day, specifically social media, to enhance learning.

Caucus101 Curriculum Overview

Click on each day below for lesson materials, suggested activities, and homework assignments.
To download the entire seven-day curriculum

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Day 01 History and Iowa’s First in the Nation Status

Main Objective

Students will be able to explain how Iowa became the first in the nation for the caucuses/primaries. Students will debate/defend why or why not Iowa should maintain its “first in the nation” status.

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Additional Objectives

Students will:
  • be able to define a caucus.
  • utilize speaking and debate skills.
  • analyze news articles as evidence.
  • evaluate their own reasons why/why not Iowa should maintain its “first in the nation” status.

Meets Core Standards

Day 02 Political Parties

Main Objective

Students will be able to explain the role of political parties in selecting candidates for office, engaging voters, and organizing their respective caucus.

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Additional Objectives

Students will:
  • identify and explain the differences between liberal and conservative ideology.
  • evaluate their own political ideology and apply it towards matching their beliefs with a political party and presidential candidate.

Meets Core Standards

Day 03 The Media

Main Objective

Students will be able to explain the role of the media in reporting on elections.

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Additional Objectives

Students will:
  • explain how the media’s use of agenda setting and agenda cutting influences the outcome of the elections.
  • evaluate the bias presented by some media outlets.

Meets Core Standards

Day 04 Interest Groups

Main Objective

Students will be able to explain the role of interest groups in the electoral process.

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Additional Objectives

Students will:
  • be able to research and analyze an interest group to determine its effectiveness.

Meets Core Standards

Day 05 Democrat & Republican / Caucus vs. Primary

Main Objective

Students will be able to describe the similarities and differences between Democrat and Republican caucuses in order to prepare for the mock caucus, and they will be able to articulate the strengths and weaknesses of caucuses and primaries.

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Additional Objectives

Students will:
  • be able to review and apply the definition of a caucus.
  • continue to hone speaking and debate skills.
  • analyze news articles as evidence.
  • evaluate which system works the best to nominate a candidate for president: primaries or caucuses?

Meets Core Standards

Day 06 Mock Caucus Simulation

Main Objective

Students will be able to describe how the caucus process works to choose the presidential nominee for both the Republican and Democratic Party.

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Additional Objectives

Students will:
  • identify the steps in the caucus process.
  • evaluate the effectiveness of the caucus process.

Meets Core Standards

Day 07 Effects of Caucuses

Main Objective

Students will determine the effects of the Iowa caucuses historically and currently.

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Additional Objectives

Students will:
  • be able to define a caucus.
  • analyze graphic information and write conclusions.
  • analyze news articles as evidence.
  • research historical effects from Iowa’s caucuses.
  • make predictions of nominations.
  • track primary and caucus winners.

Meets Core Standards

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