You can’t go to a news site today and not see something about the upcoming U.S. Presidential election. When you do go to those sites you’ll often find current polling data about the popularity of a given candidate and or the probability of a candidate winning. Those polls don’t always predict who will win because the most popular (nationwide) candidate doesn’t always win. That’s due to the Electoral College system that we use to pick a president in the U.S. This is a concept that baffles a lot of students. Should you find yourself looking for some videos to help students understand how the Electoral College works, consider one of the following.
Does Your Vote Counts? is a TED-Ed lesson that offers a short explanation of the Electoral College by answering the question, “does your vote count?” The video for the lesson is embedded below.
How the Electoral College Works from C.G.P. Grey gives a nice overview of the Electoral College. The video isn’t perfect, I wish the producer had included that the number of Electoral votes a state receives is tied to the number of Senators and Representative it has. Instead the video simply stated that the number of Electoral votes is tied to population. Overall, it’s not a bad summary of the Electoral College.
Electing a US President produced by Common Craft provides a concise overview of the election process. The version embedded below is an update to the original that Common Craft released and I used in my classroom during the 2008 election.
Keith Hughes produced two videos about how the Electoral College was developed and how it works. The first video below is just one minute long. The second video, The Electoral College for Dummies, goes into much more depth.
Disclosure: I have a long-standing, in-kind relationship with Common Craft.