CoverIntroductionKey Civics and Government ConceptsDefining Critical Media LiteracyTopic 1. Foundations of the United States Political System1.1 Social Media Policies and Community Standards on YouTube, Twitter, TikTok and More1.2 The Internet as a Public Utility1.3  21st Century Women STEM Innovators1.4 Media Coverage of Kings, Queens, and Royal Families1.5 Representations of Native Americans in Films, Local History Publications, and School MascotsTopic 2. The Development of United States Government2.1 Declarations of Independence on Social Media2.2 Media Marketing and Government Regulation of Self-Driving Cars and Electric Vehicles2.3 Representations of and Racism Toward Black Americans in the Media2.4 Political Debates Through Songs from Hamilton: An American Musical2.5 Bill of Rights on TwitterTopic 3. Institutions of United States Government3.1: Hollywood Movies About the Branches of Government3.2: Writing an Impeachment Press Release3.3: Members of Congress' Use of Social Media3.4: Political Impacts of Public Opinion Polls3.5: Website Design for New Political PartiesTopic 4. The Rights and Responsibilities of Citizens4.1: Immigration in the News4.2: Portrayals of Immigrants in Television and Film4.3: COVID-19 Information Evaluation4.4: Women Political Leaders in the Media4.5: Online Messaging by Special Interest Groups4.6: Digital Games for Civic Engagement4.7: Social Media and the Elections4.8: Images of Political Leaders and Political Power4.9: Media Spin in the Coverage of Political Debates4.10: Celebrities' Influence on Politics4.11: Political Activism Through Social Media4.12: Media Recruitment of Public Sector Workers4.13 Deciding What Books Students Read in School4.14: Images of Teachers and Teaching4.15: For Whom Is and Could Your School Be Named4.16: Representing Trans Identities4.17: Media Framing of the Events of January 6, 20214.18: Music as Protest Art4.19: PACs, Super PACs, and Unions in the Media4.20 Brands and PoliticsTopic 5. The Constitution, Amendments, and Supreme Court Decisions5.1: Prohibition in the Media5.2: The Equal Rights Amendment on Twitter and Other Social Media5.3: Civil War Era News Stories and Recruitment Advertisements5.4: Representations of Gender and Race on U.S. Currency5.5: The Equality Act on Twitter5.6: Reading Supreme Court Dissents Aloud5.7: Television Cameras in CourtroomsTopic 6. The Structure of State and Local Government6.1: Native American Mascots and Logos6.2: A Constitution for the Internet6.3: Military Recruitment and the Media6.4: Your Privacy on Social Media6.5: Pandemic Policy Information in the Media6.6: Gendered Language in Media Coverage of Women in Politics6.7: Gender-Neutral Marketing of Toys 6.8: Environmental Campaigns Using Social Media6.9: Trusted Messengers, the Media, and the Pandemic6.10: Online Campaigning for Political Office6.11: Advertising the Lottery Online and In Print6.12: Local Governments, Social Media and Digital Democracy6.13: Protecting the CommonsTopic 7. Freedom of the Press and News/Media Literacy7.1: Press Freedom in the United States and the World7.2: Objectivity and Reporting the News from All Sides7.3: Investigative Journalism and Social Change7.4: News Photographs & Newspaper Design7.5: How Reporters Report Events7.6: Recommendation Algorithms on Social Media Platforms7.7: YouTube Content Creators7.8: Fake News Investigation and Evaluation7.9: Paywalls and Access to Online News7.10: Critical Visual Analysis of Online and Print Media7.11: Memes and TikToks as Political Cartoons7.12: Women Reporters in the Movies7.13: Design a 21st Century Indie Bookstore 7.14: Greenwashing and the Media

3.5: Website Design for New Political Parties

In theory, multiple political parties give voters multiple choices during elections. In 2020, there were 21 Presidential candidates on the ballot in Vermont and Colorado and in all other states voters could choose between 3 and 13 different candidates.

In reality, though, candidates from parties other than the Democratic or Republican parties have only a small chance of winning a state-wide election (Independent Senators Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Angus King of Maine are exceptions to that statement). In Minnesota, for example, the Legal Marijuana Now Party candidate for U.S. Senate won 185,064 votes (5.77%) while the winner, Democrat Tina Smith, received 1,566,522 votes (48.81%).

Still, this does not mean that supporting a third party candidate means "wasting" one's vote on someone who cannot win an election. Multiple political parties raise public awareness of issues facing society which can lead to social, economic, and political change.

Sign that says local political party with an eagle logo on top
Local Political Party Logo | Public Domain

Each state has its own rules for determining when a group or activist organization can become a recognized political party and have its candidates appear on an election ballot. A potential political party must demonstrate actual voter support (usually by filing a petition for formal recognition signed by a representative number of citizens of the state) and then it must receive a sufficient number of votes in an election to maintain its status as a political party. Here are the rules for Qualifying as a Political Party from the U.S. Federal Election Commission.

In politics today, any new political party needs to utilize technology to communicate with voters. A party website can serve as a hub or home base for information, showcasing the party's logo, highlighting its policies, introducing its candidates, and raising funds to support itself and its efforts. In this activity, you get to design a website for a new political party.

Image preview of a YouTube video
Watch on YouTube https://edtechbooks.org/-wTtR

Activity: Design a Website for a New Political Party

  1. Use the Teacher and Student Guide to Analyzing Websites to closely examine the websites of several members of Congress
  2. Come up with a name and a mascot or symbol for your new political party.
  3. Create a website for your political party, using a web design tool such as Google Sites, Wix, Weebly, or Adobe Spark, to influence others to vote for the party. 
    • Incorporate design strategies you uncovered during your analysis of congress members' websites and from watching 6 Things Your Political Campaign Website Needs.  
    • Make sure to include a logo for your new party, a slogan, and the party's political goals. 
    • Use Tweetgen to create a series of tweets for your political party (explore how members of Congress use social media). Download images of these tweets (or take screenshots) and add them to your website. 
  4. As a class, review everyone's websites and select a winning party. 

Designing for Learning: Student-Created Activity Example

Website: All of us matter

Additional Resources:

Connecting to the Standards

  • Massachusetts Civics & Government Standards
    • Describe the structure and role of political parties at the state and national levels (Massachusetts Curriculum Framework for History and Social Science) [8.T3.5]
  • ISTE Standards
    • Digital Citizen
      • 2c: Students demonstrate an understanding of and respect for the rights and obligations of using and sharing intellectual property.
    • Knowledge Constructor
      • 3a: Students plan and employ effective research strategies to locate information and other resources for their intellectual or creative pursuits.
      • 3b: Students evaluate the accuracy, perspective, credibility and relevance of information, media, data, or other resources.
    • Creative Communicator
      • 6a: Students choose the appropriate platforms and tools for meeting the desired objectives of their creation or communication.
      • 6b: Students create original works or responsibly repurpose or remix digital resources into new creations.
      • 6d: Students publish or present content that customizes the message and medium for the intended audiences.
  • DLCS Standards
    • Ethics and Laws (CAS.b)
    • Interpersonal and Societal Impact (CAS.c)
    • Digital Tools (DTC.a)
    • Collaboration and Communication (DTC.b)
    • Research (DTC.c)
  • English Language Arts > History/Social Studies Common Core Standards
    • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.6-8.5
    • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.6-8.6
    • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.6-8.7
    • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.9-10.5
    • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.9-10.8
    • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.11-12.5
    • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.11-12.7
  • English/Language Arts Common Core Standards