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Saturday, October 20, 2012

Political Polls- a Great Place to Get Them Thinking

What do you think?
Polls are a great way to get kids engaged in discussions
     o   Yes
     o   No
Polls are everywhere in the news, particularly now in the election season.  Surveys are a great way to get students to state their point of view.  This can be the start of a good discussion in math, social studies and language arts.  There are lots of great places to find polls that students can take part in or just analyze.  Check out these resources:
  1. The NYT’s Poll Watch gives you lots of recent polls and related articles.
  2. Real clear politics provides lots of information from different polls that can be used to study.
  3. Nonpartisan polling reports on trends in American public opinion based on the polls. 
  4. Time for Kids has a polling place where kids can cast their vote for president and see the poll results thus far.
  5. Student Engagement Activities on Polls can be found in Paul Gigliotti’s Blog on Edutopia.  These activities ask students to participate in a poll and then analyze and report on the results to gain an understanding of political polls.
  6. You can find some sample Math lessons on election polls.
Do it yourself!
Simple technology tools can help you quickly take a poll from your students in a fun and engaging way and provide them with real instant data to work with.  There are a number of free and simple tools available:
  1. Got a Google account?  You can make up a quick poll using Google forms.  There is a nice demo of how to do that here and all the information gets dumped into a spreadsheet.  You can send out the survey to your students or staff and work with the collected data.
  2. is a great tool that creates a poll that you can share with a Powerpoint slide or directly off the webpage.  Students can respond with cell phones or on the computer and instantly see their answers in graph form. 
  3. is another quick way to set up a poll that your students can answer through their computers.  You can set the poll up so quickly, it can be done right in front of the students, collect the data and have them analyze it all in the same class period.
  4. Looking for more? “Cool tools for schools” is a great wiki that has lots of links to other simple polling tools. 
Bottomline, polls are a great opportunity to get students involved in relevant and authentic work.  Polling is a great way to get students involved in the conversation.  Take a poll of student opinions before and after research of a classroom SCAN session.  Use polls to get kids involved in real math, reading graphs, writing persuasive essays and keeping up with current events. 
Have you used polls in the classroom?  Please share your experiences and ideas.

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