Teaching Math through the Presidential Election

Math is tied directly with the election when it comes to voting and electing.

Photo of Trever Reeh
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Probability and statistics are never used more than during the election season. Polls show who is up and down each week leading toward election day. Some official get 4 point gains in states and it changes the momentum of the election. Elections are a great way to teach probability and statistics to students.

Potential Impact:

All students wonder when are we going to use this? It's not when we are going to use this, its how we use it to understand and make decisions. For example show them this poll. 

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Yes, this poll came from Twitter, but does it matter where polls come from? Is this poll biased? How would you know that it is biased. Students can use and collect data to represent how the school or town might vote.


As a math teacher, I can be bored teaching math in a traditional way. Use something that everyone (especially students) is paying attention to, the election. Show them how numbers, probability, and statistics can change voters minds and to make informed decisions.

How do I get this idea off the ground?

Use a polling technique as a bell-ringer. When all the students are finished, pull up the results. Ask them how they think the school would vote? How would town vote? How would the state vote? How would the nation vote? What are the similarities and differences. Spur conversation, if students aren't into it, try again in a couple weeks.

How can you get started?

Follow the link here: goo.gl/cKkpeQ

Original Post:

Elections are a great place to math in the real world, especially probability.  When looking at polls, what type of polling did they do? Is their polling accurate?

Teaching statistics and probability earlier where students are engaged in civic projects.

It would be great to see students use their voice and understanding of mathematics to make good decisions based on what they see.

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Join the conversation:

Photo of Shawn Dougherty

I love this idea and plan to incorporate it into my class, thanks.  The program I pitched, "Education, not indoctrination," will require partner schools across the cultural, political, and economic divide.  Check it out and let me know if your school might be interested...

Photo of Trever Reeh

I like the idea of tying history and government together. Not always something students get the chance of learning in school.

Photo of Ellen Deutscher

Thanks for your idea and the tie-in to math!   Do you think this will bring out the voices of students who are not 'the usual' ones we here from?  How do you think this connection to math can inspire student voice and impact?

Photo of Trever Reeh

The school that I teach at is largely hispanic. I think getting students to think about the election and how they perceive data can influence their decisions.