Democracy is a verb.

 

Teacher FAQs

HOW TO PLAY THE CHALLENGES STUDENT HOME TEACHER HOME

Welcome, teachers! Click on any question below to open its answer. You can also find answers to more FAQs that STUDENTS might ask here.

What is the Great Electoral Race?

The Great Electoral Race is an interactive digital competition that asks students to work in teams of 3-5 and use their favorite social media platforms to complete any of 51+ election-related Challenges to earn points and win prizes.

What are the Challenges and how hard are they?

Challenges range in difficulty according to the number of points they are worth. (And are worth as many points as each state has electoral votes!) Some are as light and easy as taking a human pyramid picture with a yard sign; others ask students to create profiles on/ads for candidates running for office; still others ask them to organize events ranging from voter registration drives to candidate forums. We invite you and your students to complete as many or as few as possible.

You can see a list of all Challenges HERE and click on any one to find more details and resources. Once on that page, you can also use links in the navigation bar to view subsets of Challenges by Category (Just for Fun; Issues; Campaigning; Debates; etc.) or by point value.

Is there curriculum available for teachers who want to participate?

Yes! Most Challenges are designed such that students could complete them outside of class and without curriculum, but we know that the quality and quantity of content students produce will increase dramatically with each Challenge that you build into your instruction. Click here to download Mikva’s free Elections in Action curriculum and here to view an Annotated Table of Contents that indicates which Challenges align with each lesson.

A kickoff lesson designed to introduce the Great Electoral Race to your class can also be downloaded here: Great Electoral Race Kickoff Lesson ; Great Electoral Race Kickoff PPT

NOTE: The Elections in Action curriculum is designed to be mixed and matched with other activities at teachers’ discretion – it is up to you to decide which elements of the election (voting/voter registration, campaigns, debates, candidates, etc.) you choose to focus on in class and there is no expectation that teachers use this curriculum cover-to-cover.

How can I integrate this Race into my classroom?

Because we know that no two classrooms are the same and teachers will have varying amounts of time to cover the election in class, this Race is designed to encourage any and all levels of participation. A few options include:

  1. Share and promote the Great Electoral Race with your students.
  • Distribute information about the Race to your students
  • Ask your school to share the opportunity on its website and/or social media pages
  • Encourage student participation by offering extra credit to anyone who fields a Team
  • Highlight the work that students do as part of the Race by sharing the projects they create with your school community

2. Create opportunities in class for students to complete Challenges and earn points.

3. Make the Great Electoral Race an integral part of your class(es) this fall!

  • Devote class time to help students create teams, strategize, and work on Challenges
  • Require participation as part of your class(es)
  • Create your own classroom-based incentives to encourage teams to complete Challenges (i.e. create a leader board that tracks the progress of teams competing in your class/school, offer grades-or-extra-credit for teams that complete various challenges, offer a pizza party to the class whose teams collectively earn the most points, etc.)
How can my students register teams? / What makes a good team?

Students can register teams HERE. Teams must be made up of 3-5 students, all of whom are in grades 6-12.

When possible, try to make sure each team has:

  • at least one student familiar with Twitter and/or Instagram
  • at least one person with a smartphone
  • students with diverse skill/interest sets
  • 5 people – while 3 person teams are allowed, remind students that the more people they have on their team, the more capacity they have to divvy up tasks!
How can I find out if my students create a team?

When students register a team or coalition, they will be asked if they are participating as part of a class, and if they say yes they are prompted to provide your last name and email. You will then receive an email when they click submit that includes that team’s chosen hashtag and the names/emails of all students on that team.

If you do not want to receive these emails, please let you students know NOT to include your email on their registration form.

How does this Race connect with Project Soapbox / American Soapbox?

(Coming Soon)

How do students “win”, and what are the prizes?

This race includes two levels of competition – Team and Coalition – each with its own goals and prizes.

Team Competition

  • Competitors: Teams of 3-5 students
  • How to win: Prize drawings will be held three times throughout the Race: September 26th, October 17th, and November 9th. In order to be entered into each drawing, Teams must complete this online Tracking Form by midnight the night before to self-report how many challenges they have completed. Each team’s name will be entered into the drawing as many times as it has points. (i.e. If you have earned 84 points by that date, your team goes into the drawing 84 times. If you have earned 4, your team name goes in 4 times.) Once a winner is drawn, Mikva staff will verify that team’s points by searching for their hashtag on Twitter/Instagram to confirm they have completed the tasks they marked as completed.
  • Prizes:
    • September/October drawings: Various combinations of stickers, tshirts, water bottles, buttons
    • November: $150 Visa Giftcard
    • Note: We are currently soliciting additional prize donations! If you have a prize you would be willing to donate, please email meghan@mikvachallenge.org

Coalition Competition

  • Competitors: Coalitions (teams of 2+ Teams that include no more than 40 students total)
  • How to win: Prize drawings will be held three times throughout the Race: September 26th, October 17th and November 9th. Before each drawing, Mikva staff will search each registered Coalition’s hashtag to determine if they meet that drawing’s eligibility requirements below.
  • Eligibility for Drawings:
    • 9/26 Drawing: Completed at least 1 challenge
    • 10/17 Drawing: Completed enough challenges to collectively earn 100+ points
    • 11/9 Drawing: Completed enough challenges to collectively earn 270+ points
  • Prizes:
    • September/October drawings: Various combinations of stickers, tshirts, water bottles, buttons
    • November drawing: Pizza party for class
    • Note: We are currently soliciting additional prize donations! If you have a prize you would be willing to donate, please email meghan@mikvachallenge.org.
Do the projects students create as part of the Race have to be digital?

Not necessarily. The only requirement is that whatever Teams create must ultimately be something they can post on Twitter/Instagram in order to receive points. Tasks that ask for the product to be a photo, video, or sound recording do require digital tools, but for those that ask for charts, written pieces, etc. and students prefer to create those without a computer and then take a picture, that is fine.

My school has a ‘No Cell Phone Use in School’ policy – can my students still participate?

Yes. Most Challenges involve task elements that can be worked on/completed without cell phone use. Students can complete those in class and then tweet/post their finished products for homework/outside of class time.

I don’t know anything about Twitter or Instagram – can my students still participate?

Yes. We have created short videos designed to help teachers/students set up accounts for either/both platforms and learn the basics of how to use them. We encourage you to use this as a learning experience during which both you and your students can learn to better use social media in different ways.

My students have little to no access to/experience with social media – can they still participate?

Yes. You know your students best, and we encourage you to modify existing activities to your classroom. If you and/or some students have greater familiarity with Twitter/Instagram than others, make sure that each team has one of those students – OR designate yourself as the official post-er of the products that students create. As long as posts contain the hashtag of the team that created them and is owed points for them, ANYone can take the role of doing the actual posting.

I live in a very red/blue state without much activity surrounding the presidential race – can my students still participate?

Yes! The majority of Challenges invite students to engage with ANY race – local, state or federal. For example, if a task asks students to campaign, host a candidate forum, watch a debate, etc., they could do so with candidates for local, state or federal office – whatever is most practical in your community.

What is the difference between Teams and Coalitions?

Teams are made up of 3-5 students each. Students who register as a team may do so as part of a class or on their own. Most tasks are designed to be achievable for that size group. Teachers might have all students register as teams, or invite 3-5 particular students to form a team to represent the school.

Coalitions are teams-of-teams that can include up to 40 students. Students might form a Coalition that is made up of multiple teams in the same 2nd period class or after school club. They add a collaborative element to participation in that they allow greater capacity for students to jigsaw and tackle multiple challenges and thus accrue more points together. If a teacher wanted to focus on debates, for example, and Coalition Z is made up of Teams A, B & C, Team A could work on one task, Team B on another, and Team C on a third. All of these points would go towards Coalition Z’s group success. To learn more about the purpose of Coalitions and how they work, click here.

How do points work if multiple teams in my class work together on the same Challenge?

As we consider it unlikely (though not impossible) that multiple teams in the same class would each plan their own large event (i.e. voter reg drives, candidate forums, etc.) to complete some of the largest challenges, we leave to teacher discretion how you want to award points for multiple teams involved in creating the same large event.

I have a question that is not on this list – who do I ask?

Email Meghan at meghan@mikvachallenge.org or call us at 312.863.6358.

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HOW TO PLAY THE CHALLENGES STUDENT HOME TEACHER HOME

88%

of Mikva alumni are registered voters, vs. only 53% of 18-29 yr. olds nationwide

145

Chicagoland teachers participate in Mikva Challenge programs

66%

of Mikva alumni encourage their friends and family to be politically engaged, vs. only 35% of 18-29 yr. olds nationwide

1,684

students campaigned during the 2015-16 Election Season

6,900

students from 117 schools nationwide presented speeches and/or worked on civic action projects

9,506

young people served in the Chicagoland area, California and Washington DC

69%

of Mikva alumni continue to volunteer in their communities, vs. only 36% of 18-29 yr. olds nationwide

2,000+

Mikva students serve as election judges each election cycle

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