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CNN Student News Learning Activity: American Political Parties

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(CNN Student News) -- Students will learn about political parties in the United States.


Ask students: What is a political party? What role do political parties play in the U.S. presidential election process? Point out that although the Democratic and Republican parties currently dominate the political scene, other parties have nominated individuals for president throughout U.S. history. Have students select a political party that has nominated a candidate for president at any point in U.S. history. Students may want to consider parties such as the Libertarian party, the Whig party, the Green party, and the Bull Moose party.

Next, hand out copies of the Political Party Profile Worksheet. Direct students to fill in the worksheet, using their textbooks or online resources to research their chosen parties. Using his or her findings, each student should compose a one-minute speech for a presidential candidate from the party. The speech should touch on major points of the party's history and where it stands on the issues.


Challenge your students to use original video, music, animation and other production elements to create their own "Talking Democracy" iReports that explain or demonstrate the concept of political parties. The videos should be three minutes or less in length and can be submitted here. The best videos may appear on CNN Student News!

Correlated Standards


9-12 Content Standards

I. What Are Civic Life, Politics, And Government?

1. Defining civic life, politics, and government

2. Necessity of politics and government

III. How Does The Government Established By The Constitution Embody The Purposes, Values, And Principles Of American Democracy?

14. Political parties, campaigns, and elections

V. What Are The Roles Of The Citizen In American Democracy?

14. The relationship between politics and the attainment of individual and public goals

15. The difference between political and social participation

16. Forms of political participation

17. Political leadership and careers in public service

18. Knowledge and participation

The National Standards for Civics and Government ( are published by the Center for Civic Education (


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