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Teaching activity

A introductory US politics homework task

Ruth Tarrant

8th September 2016

It can be tricky knowing what to set for homework in the first few weeks of a new course. Here's a simple "comprehension" task. Ask students to read this article Downballot Blues from the latest edition of the Economist before defining the key terms, all used in the article, below. The article focuses on why Donald Trump's words and actions on the presidential campaign trail may have harmed the election chances of Republicans in getting into the Senate.

Here's the list of words to find and define:

  1. Presidential nominee
  2. Senator
  3. Swing State
  4. Primary
  5. Mainstream Conservatives
  6. Swing voters
  7. Purple state
  8. Republican convention
  9. Governor
  10. Partisanship
  11. Split-ticket voting
  12. Incumbent
  13. Junior senator
  14. Bureaucrat
  15. Elected office
  16. Congressman

A final task would be for students to practise writing a precis of the article for their own notes.

Ruth Tarrant

Ruth has been Subject Lead in Economics at tutor2u for many years after a career of teaching Economics, Business, Politics and Maths in a range of secondary schools. She is a highly experienced A level Economics Examiner, and also teaches undergraduate Economics on a very part-time basis at the University of Oxford. Ruth is passionate about making economics fun, engaging and accessible.

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