12th Grade Government New York

Political Parties

This inquiry leads students through an investigation of political issues and political parties. By exploring the compelling question about how well political parties represent individuals, students consider their own political ideology as a lens for learning about the extent to which political parties address international and domestic issues. In investigating political issues and political party platforms, students begin to develop an idea of how well the parties represent them and, more importantly, begin to develop their own political ideologies.


Compelling Question:

Do Any Political Parties Represent Me?

Staging the Question:

Students take a political quiz through the University of Virginia Center for Politics that places them on a political continuum.

Supporting Question Which international issues are most important to me?

Formative Task Rank international issues from most to least important to you, and write a paragraph explaining that ranking.

Sources Sources A–D: Description of current international issues: foreign policy, war and peace, immigration, and free trade


Supporting Question Which domestic issues are most important to me?

Formative Task Rank domestic issues from most to least important to you, and write a paragraph explaining that ranking.

Sources ources A–E: Descriptions of current domestic issues: jobs, environment, health care, gun control, and civil rights


Supporting Question Which national party platform best supports my stance on political issues?

Formative Task Chart how different political parties respond to your stances on political issues, and make a claim or series of claims that answers the supporting question.

Sources Sources A–D: Excerpts from the official Democratic, Republican, Libertarian, and Green party platforms


Supporting Question How do politicians address issues that are important to me?

Formative Task Research a politician and make a claim that addresses the supporting question.

Sources Source A: Sources found by students and/or teachers

Summative Performance Task

Argument: Do any political parties represent me? Construct an argument (e.g., detailed outline, poster, essay) that addresses the compelling question “Do any political parties represent me?” using specific claims and relevant evidence from contemporary sources while acknowledging competing views.
Extension: Create a political party platform based on the issues students believe are the most important.

Taking Informed Action

Understand: Research a specific political issue that has affected the local area.
Assess: Examine the extent to which that issue has been addressed.
Act: Organize a debate between local politicians (or party members) in which they answer questions prepared by the students about a political issue.