Lesson Plans

Gerrymandering: Voting by Numbers

Students learn about the application of ratios and proportions to the real political issue of gerrymandering. In Part I, students conduct a primary-source analysis of the original 1812 political cartoon about Elbridge Gerry’s redistricting in Massachusetts to build background knowledge. In Part II, students analyze a historical map of Massachusetts’s gerrymandered voting districts in 1812 and compare it to the political cartoon to discuss issues of fairness. In Part III, students solve a hypothetical problem about fair representation on a student council, using their knowledge and understanding of gerrymandering and ratios. Finally, students role-play state legislators in a hypothetical state to solve problems of representation, including gerrymandering.

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