who can run for office lesson plan

Lesson 5: Who Can Run For Office

Learning Objectives:

Students will learn the qualifications for people running for office.

The U.S. Constitution details specific qualifications for people who want to run for national political office. State and local government units set their own qualifications for those running for office. Students will identify where the qualifications for political candidates can be found.

Vocabulary and Definitions:

qualification: a circumstance or condition required by law or custom for getting, having, or exercising a right, holding an office, etc.

term: a period of time to which limits have been set

candidate: a person who seeks an office, honor, etc.

natural-born citizen: a person who was a U.S. citizen at birth

Think Deeply:

Conduct research on the qualifications for local and state political offices.

Lesson Plan:

  1. Explain to the students that they are going to act like the Founding Fathers. As Founding Fathers, they have been asked to decide what the qualifications will be for people running for national office.
  2. Divide the class into groups of three or four.
  3. Write the following questions on the board for discussion. Note: For first and second-grade classes, you may have to complete this exercise as a class or recruit adult volunteers to assist the groups.

President

How old should a person be to run for president?

Does the person running for office need to be a U.S. citizen? For how long?

Do race, gender, or religion impact who can run for president? If so, how?

How long should the president’s term of office be?

How many terms can the president hold their office?

Senate

How old should a person be to run for the senate?

Does the person running for office need to be a U.S. citizen? For how long?

Do race, gender, or religion impact who can run for senate? If so, how?

How long should a senator’s term of office be?

How many terms can a senator hold their office?

House of Representatives

  1. How old should a person be to run for the House of Representatives?
  2. Does the person running for office need to be a U.S. citizen? For how long?
  3. Do race, gender, or religion impact who can run for the House? If so, how?
  4. How long should a representative’s term of office be?
  5. How many terms can a representative hold their office?
  6. Have the groups write down their ideas. Then, ask each group to share their ideas with the class. Make a class list of the students’ ideas.
  7. Read the following information from the Constitution to the class and outline its most important details on the board. Then, ask the students to compare their class list with the Constitution.
  8. Have a class discussion about the Constitution’s qualifications.

Article 1 Section 2

The House of Representatives shall be composed of Members chosen every second year by the people of the several states…

“…No person shall be a Representative who shall not have attained to the age of twenty-five years, and been seven years a citizen of the United States.”

Article 1 Section 3 and Amendment 17

“No person shall be a Senator who shall not have attained to the age of thirty years, and been nine years a citizen of the United States…

Amendment 17: The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State, elected by the people thereof, for six years…”

Article 2 Section 1

“The executive power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America, He shall hold his office during the term of four years…”

“…No person except a natural-born citizen, or a citizen of the United States, at the time of adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the office of President; neither shall any person be eligible for office who shall not have attained to the age of thirty-five years, and been fourteen years a resident within the United States.”

Weekly Assessment:

First and Second Grade: Complete the Candidate Qualifications, graphic organizer.

Third Grade: Write one sentence about each leader (three sentences total) that you learned about. Make sure that you include the qualifications for their offices.

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