Find our new content and programs at

Monday, November 5, 2012

Kids Voting election

Our website host has been having issues. If you can't access Kids Voting information on our main site, try these links or contact us:

Online ballot

Charlotte grades K-5
Charlotte grades 6-12

Charlotte region grades K-5
Charlotte region grades 6-12

President only

Voting sites for Election 2012 November 6, 2012

View election day in a full screen map

Thursday, September 27, 2012

GenerationNation Learning Center

We're moving!

Find curriculum and activities here:

Democracy Kids - fun civics games

Democracy Kids is a fun website with educational games about democracy and the legislative process.
Includes these topics:
Representative democracy
  • Key words
  • Facts of Congress
Legislators are real people
  • Who are these people?
  • What do legislators do?
Compromise is vital
  • Getting to yes
  • House mouse, Senate mouse
Getting involved
  • Making a difference
  • How to contact a legislator effectively
Government impacts my life
  • Impact of government

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Constitution Day

Constitution Day is September 17. This is an opportunity to incorporate civic learning into the classroom or dinner table discussion. Good discussion topics include the role of the President as defined in the Constitution, Bill of Rights, the First Amendment (Freedom of Speech), Voting Rights and more. There are many excellent resources and lesson plans available, covering just a few minutes to entire class periods and more.

High schools have the additional opportunity of hosting a student voter registration drive - use this opportunity to explore the right to vote and also celebrate NC Voter Awareness Month. Contact GenerationNation to set up a voter registration drive in September/early October (Board of Elections must have completed forms in hand by October 12 at 5PM).

September 11: Learning Opportunity

September 11, 2012 is the 11th anniversary of important events in our nation's history. In addition to learning about what happened in 2001, you can use 9-11 as a civic learning opportunity for family or classroom dialogue. Here are a few discussion topics:


Leaders wear many "hats". For example, on September 11, 2001, President Bush was visiting a Florida classroom when he was told about what was happening in New York. He was making a public appearance, something that elected officials of all levels do every day. He also had to think about the country's safety and act as Commander-in-Chief, among many other things. What are some examples where you wear different "hats"? (example: you might be a son or a daughter, a student, a friend, a brother or sister, a soccer player)

Leaders have to know how to react. When President Bush was told about the attack, he paused, and then continued to talk with the class. A short time later, he addressed the nation about the news and then left to carry on his other duties as president. If you were a leader, how would you react to news like this? Would you run out of the room screaming? What would you do to inspire citizens and give them confidence?

Leaders work together even when they don't agree. The events in 2001, and the months afterward, brought together different kinds of people, including people who normally disagree politically. They worked together to achieve common goals. Even last year, to commemorate the 10th anniversary of September 11th, Presidents Clinton, Bush and Obama worked together to help the families who lost loved ones, and keep the country focused on the importance of this event in history. They have different political viewpoints, but they work together. What are some examples when you have worked together with someone to do something important? Did it matter if you agreed with that person about different things? Did it make you understand that person better?  

First responders - emergency professionals such as police, firefighters and medics - are responsible for a community's public safety.  In the 9-11 events, many New York City police, firefighters and other emergency personnel were involved in rescuing people at the World Trade Center, keeping people on the street safe, and helping in general. Many of them lost their lives while they were trying to help others. Have you ever seen police, firefighters or medics in our community? What were they doing? Why is it important that they do what they do? What kind of person chooses this kind of career? Is this something that interests you?


The September 11 events, in 2001 and today, involve different levels of government.  Many of the emergency personnel who responded to the World Trade Center and New York's mayor were a part of the local government there. The Port Authority, which was involved there and in other places, is a function of state government. (Actually, a shared operation of New York and New Jersey state governments.) The air traffic controllers who talked with and tracked the airplanes are part of federal, or national, government (Federal Aviation Administration). The President and military are part of federal government. Can you think of other examples where different levels of government work together? Do you think this is an easy process? Why or why not?

The police, fire department and medics are departments of local government. Much of their funding comes from the local government budget, funded through taxes and other sources. Each year, officials have to decide how to budget their money to run the community. This means they have to set priorities and divide their money among the different choices. Those decisions can be hard.  Here's an outline of how Charlotte, Mecklenburg and towns fund public safety and other budget priorities. If you were a local government official, how would you make important budget decisions? In your opinion, what is important to fund? What is less important? Why?

Economic development is important for local governments. In New York, city leaders have worked hard to plan the best way to both remember the events of September 11th and also re-build near the site. Commemorating the lives lost is important to the families and because it is an important part of the city's, and country's, history. It will also be a place where tourists can visit. Office buildings can house businesses, which give people jobs. When people visit the city, and when they have jobs, and businesses make money, the economy is better. If you were in charge of a city where something like September 11 happened, what would you want to build on the site? Buildings? A park? A statue? Can you think of examples of things the city has built here to bring jobs, tourists, or both?


You don't have to be the President or a firefighter to make a difference. In September 11 events, many people helped with the rescue effort. They worked alongside police and firefighters, or performed heroic acts on their own. They helped people find ways to get out of the World Trade Center buildings. They helped them find safety when the buildings collapsed. They helped the victims' families. They comforted strangers when they were scared. What are some ways that you can be a community helper, a good citizen?

Citizens work with leaders and governments. After the September 11th events, many of the family members of the victims worked to make a difference. They talked with leaders and the governments about making sure that September 11th would be remembered in an appropriate way in New York, Pennsylvania, Washington and across the US. They asked the government to review what happened, and to report their findings to the public. Why do you think citizen involvement was important to making things happen? How can citizens continue to remember the September 11 events or work with governments and leaders to ensure it never happens again?  How can you make a difference?


9/11 -
Teaching 9/11 - New York Times
9/11 Digital Archive
9/11 Commission Report
9/11 Memorial NYC PA DC
Charlotte-Mecklenburg police, fire, medic

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

A convention's in the city!

How much do you know about the cities where the conventions are held?


Identify the cities where the Republican National Convention (RNC) and Democratic National Convention (DNC) will be held.

Map it!

Can you find them on a map? Use Google or another mapping tool to locate the cities and the locations of the convention activities.

Research and analyze

Research and then compare and contrast the two cities.
How old is each city?
How many schools? What is the population? What are their professional sports teams, major businesses, and attractions, etc.?

Selecting a city

Why were these cities chosen for the conventions?


How does a convention impact a city? Think about impacts on businesses, residents, transportation, children and other factors. Do you think a convention is good for a city? Why or why not?


Where have conventions been held in prior elections?

Selling the convention

If you were a city leader, how would you persuade the convention organizers to come to your city? How would you inform your citizens about, and involve them in convention preparations? What would you tell the media? Would you emphasize the good qualities or benefits of the city, or your support for a specific political party?

Working together

When a city hosts a convention, who do you think is involved in making the plans and preparations? How many people does it take? Do you think that people of different political parties work together to make it happen? Why or why not?

Learn more

Road to the White House
Ways kids can learn about conventions (without being political)

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Conventions vocabulary

Political conventions are fun to watch and read about. It helps to know the vocabulary!


A political convention is a meeting of a political party, typically to select party candidates.


A person sent or authorized to represent others, in particular, an elected representative sent to a conference.
Bonus question: Did you know the word delegate is a verb and a noun? Can you delegate to the delegate? What are some other words that work like this?


A system of government by the whole population or all the eligible members of a state, typically through elected representatives.


A formal and organized process of electing or being elected to political office.


A prevailing tone or central theme, typically one set or introduced at the start of a conference.


The act or an instance of submitting a name for candidacy or appointment.


A party platform or platform is a list of the actions which a political party or candidate supports in order to appeal to voters. "Party planks" are individual topics that make up the platform, for example issues such as education or healthcare.

Political Party

A political party is an organization of people with similar views who seek to influence government policy, usually by nominating their own candidates and trying to seat them in political office.


The elected head of the United States. The President serves in a 4-year term.

Vice President

The person selected by the presidential candidate as a running mate and as the person who could potentially take over if the candidate is elected President and is at any point unable to serve.

Learn more

Road to the White House
Ways kids can learn about conventions (without being political)

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Political animals invade the city

The campaign trail gets a little wilder this summer when Discovery Place and the EpiCentre bring a nonpartisan contest to Uptown Charlotte, offering a chance at victory for anyone willing to get in the race.
Beginning July 30, a total of 24 specially-marked donkey and elephant toy animals will be hidden throughout the EpiCentre and its resident businesses.  Each ‘political animal’ will be redeemable for two tickets to Discovery Place, including entry to the National Geographic Crittercam: The World Through Animal Eyes exhibition, plus two tickets to Discovery Place’s Charlotte Observer IMAX ® Dome Theatre to see polar bears frolic in To The Arctic or the dinosaurs roar in Sea Rex.

The scavenger hunt, open to the public, offers a game-changing opportunity to get involved in the culture and excitement of Discovery Place, one of the state’s most visited and beloved educational destinations, while exploring the heart of the Democratic National Convention’s host city.

Twelve elephants will be secured in hidden and visible locations throughout the EpiCentre and each will be tagged with information about how to redeem the animal for Discovery Place and IMAX tickets. The contest will continue until all 24 animals have been captured.

To level the playing field, Discovery Place will be offering daily social media clues on Facebook ( and Twitter (@discoveryplace).

For more information call 704.372.6261 x300 or email

Read more

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Thank you!


 On June 30, we end a successful 2011-12 school year and our fiscal year.

Many thanks to all who make GenerationNation possible!
  • STUDENTS - who are working hard to learn, succeed and lead in their schools and community (and one day, the nation!)
  • PARENTS - who involve their children in hands-on civic learning experiences 
  • TEACHERS - who help students learn how their governments and communities work, and how citizens and leaders work together to make a difference
  • VOLUNTEERS - who make our programs and operations work so well
  • PARTNERS - who help us to build capacity, achieve goals and reach diverse audiences
  • PUBLIC OFFICIALS AND BUSINESS LEADERS - who lend their time and interest to educate and engage the next generation of civic leaders
  • MEDIA - who help to instruct students on current events, media literacy and the First Amendment, and who help to share our news
  • DONORS - who invest needed financial resources
  • YOU!

Your support makes ALL the difference! 

With your help in 2011-12, GenerationNation:

What's next? There's still work to be done! 2012-13 brings a once in a lifetime civic learning opportunity for Charlotte's K-12 students. And, it doesn't stop with the convention and election. As Charlotte's K-12 civic education champion for the last 20 years, GenerationNation will continue the legacy of civic literacy, leadership and engagement into the future.

If you haven't already, we invite you to make a financial investment in the mission of GenerationNation. Please donate now to continue to impact Charlotte's K-12 students in 2012-13.

Thank you!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Happy Birthday to us!

In June 1992, our organization was founded in Charlotte. Many thanks to all who have worked with us to make the past 20 years as Charlotte's K-12 civic education champion a huge success...and we look forward to many more!

GenerationNation (formerly known as Kids Voting Mecklenburg) has helped hundreds of thousands of K-12 students develop civic knowledge, habits and skills through smart, fun and engaging activities that connect the classroom with hands-on experiences. Programs include K-12 civic education, Youth Civics, Youth Voice Leadership Alliance and the Kids Voting mock election.

We appreciate the support and involvement of all who make it possible: students, teachers, parents, volunteers, program partners, public officials and business leaders, funders, media...YOU!

View photos of GenerationNation at work.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Celebrating Civics at the Charlotte in 2012 Kids Convention!

At the June 2 Kids Convention, hosted by Charlotte in 2012, EpiCentre, and GenerationNation, hundreds of kids and their families spent a fun Saturday exploring civics in action.

Kids had opportunities to make campaign buttons, play the Civics IQ game, vote on a community issue, come up with ideas and solutions for the country and city, and hear from civic leaders. They also had a great time dancing with Radio Disney and watching Inspire the Fire and the West Charlotte marching band.

In one of the activities, students considered their ideas and solutions for the nation and city. Download lesson

View all photos, including this one featuring Charlotte mayor Anthony Foxx and Youth Voice members

Learn more

What's your idea and solution for the US or CLT? Download lesson
Charlotte Observer: Kids Convention offers hands-on civics lessons
Charlotte in 2012: Charlotte area students have fun using the convention as a hands-on civics lesson

View photos on Facebook

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Mock conventions!


Electing a President: An Instructional Simulation

Here's a great resource giving students the opportunity to learn about political conventions by taking part in the process! In this mock convention instructional simulation, students take on the role of a delegate to a political convention, and run a model convention. Students learn various aspects of our election process, and how each step is interdependent.

Included in this curriculum

  • Teacher role and checklist
  • Student roles and sample worksheets (delegate and issue committee member)
  • Delegate sheet (sample)
  • History
  • Functions of Conventions
  • Historic Conventions
  • Location of Conventions
  • Political Conventions Day to Day
  • Resources
  • GenerationNation k12in2012 through Inauguration Day

More than Democrat and Republican

During Campaign 2012, there are nine political conventions taking place throughout the United States.  Additionally, there could be many candidates from parties on the November 2012 ballot, and the possibility of another 4 independent candidates (without party affiliation).  This is why it is important for our students to understand the process we go through in America to elect a president and other leaders within our great country.

Instructional simulations

Instructional simulations give students an opportunity to have a deeper understanding of learning through the process of conducing the simulation.

What's the key element that differentiates instructional simulation from other teaching methods? The specification of a conceptual structure within which students interact and experience - firsthand - the relationships between concepts.

Critical thinking and creative thinking

This simulation of political conventions involves both critical thinking and creative thinking:
  • Critical thinking is analytical, objective and selective.  When students think critically, they make choices based on researched information and from personal experiences.
  • Creative thinking is generative, subjective and expansive.  When students think creatively, they are open to and generate new ideas.
  • Each way of thinking is helpful as students’ process information and demonstrates their understanding by producing a product that conveys that understanding.


Don Mitchell, Social Studies Specialist in the Department of Humanities in Curriculum and Instruction at Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools

Learn more

Download complete curriculum
Download flyer about k12in2012 and putting civics into action

Friday, May 25, 2012

Kids Convention 2012 - Fun free family event June 2



Fun, free educational and entertaining event for K-8 students and their parents or guardians

Please join us on June 2 for Kids Convention 2012. This exciting, non-partisan, family friendly event - sponsored by Charlotte in 2012, EpiCentre, and GenerationNation - gives kids the opportunity to experience civics in action and learn more about the upcoming national convention.

The event is free and open to the public. Registration is recommended.

For curriculum, additional learning opportunities and more, visit

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

An educational opportunity of a lifetime

This year, K-12 students have a rare chance to learn about, watch and experience civics, government and leadership in action.

Today's students will one day become the leaders of our communities and nation. What, and how, they learn is critical to the vitality of America's democracy and the economy of the 21st century. Together, let's prepare them in the most effective way possible.

How can you or your organization make a difference? By donating today to GenerationNation! You'll give students - and our schools and community - the advantage of K-12 civic literacy through smart, fun, engaging, educational and always nonpartisan programs and activities.

Charlotte takes the world stage

The path to Charlotte's role as host of the Democratic National Convention didn't begin when national party leaders first solicited bids from prospective cities. It began when smart civic leaders had an idea, put it into motion, and helped to lead Charlotte to the world stage.

Knowledge, active citizenship and civic leadership

At GenerationNation, that's just the kind of knowledge, can-do attitude, active citizenship and civic leadership we hope to instill in K-12 students. Through fun, educational and engaging programs that connect the classroom with hands-on learning opportunities, GenerationNation, a nonpartisan nonprofit (501c3) organization, educates K-12 students to lead in their schools, communities and nation.
Your contributions help GenerationNation to:
  • Impact over 5,000 classrooms through lessons and activities tied to Common Core and NC standards for grades K-12.
  • Directly engage over 100,000 Charlotte-area students in smart, fun civic learning opportunities.
  • Build tomorrow's civic leaders through effective hands-on programs that connect hundreds of teens with government, civic engagement and leadership.

Charlotte's K-12 civic education champion

Importantly, as Charlotte's K-12 civic education champion for the last 20 years, GenerationNation will continue the legacy of Charlotte in 2012 into the future. That's long after debates of the city's best BBQ sauce have ended and the last bunting has been rolled up, saved for another day.

Give K-12 students an educational opportunity of a lifetime

Will you help GenerationNation give K-12 students an educational opportunity of a lifetime? Donate today!

See photos of GenerationNation at work

Monday, May 21, 2012

Three Branches of Government (for Kids)

Why are there 3 branches of government? Our country's Founding Fathers, the people who wrote the US Constitution, did not want any one person or group to have too much power. So, they divided the government into 3 branches. Each one has a different role, responsibility and power.
  • The Executive branch includes the President and the Vice President, plus the leaders who head different parts of government and who help the President make decisions (The Cabinet). The President approves laws, and ensures the country follows them.
  • The Judicial branch includes the court system, with the Supreme Court having the highest (most) power. The courts decide how laws are used and what they mean.
  • The Legislative branch includes Congress, made up of the House of Representatives and the Senate. In this branch, leaders create laws.
Did you know that there are also 3 branches in state and local government? This is done for the same reasons!
North Carolina
Mecklenburg, Charlotte and towns

Learn more

Ben's Guide to US Government
Separation of Powers
> US Constitution
> NC Constitution

Friday, May 18, 2012

Civic Literacy: Read all About it!

We know 2012 is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for students to learn about civics, government and leadership, right? Here's a great way to do it - reading!
The awesome Charlotte-Mecklenburg Library has created lists of HUNDREDS of books, digital media and websites about topics ranging from citizenship, civic engagement, government, leadership, elections and voting, Washington DC, North Carolina and more. You can create your own reading list!

Preschool and beginning readers


Grades K-5

Media (CDs, DVDs, online resources)
Books about North Carolina
Websites about North Carolina

Grades 6-12


Thursday, May 17, 2012

Courts and Law

Did you know that the legal system is included in each of the 3 branches of government?
  • The Legislative branch creates the laws
  • The Executive branch makes the laws official, signing them into law
  • The Judicial branch enacts and enforces the laws
Branches of government exist at the federal, or national level, as well as the state and local levels. In federal government, judges are appointed, not elected. However, in North Carolina state government, most judges are elected. They'll be on the ballot in November!
Do you know how the North Carolina Court System works? To get you started, here is a great resource from the Trial Court Administrator's office at the Mecklenburg County Courthouse.

Download this PDF presentation

Great handout from Civic Education Consortium

Friday, May 11, 2012

Do Rules of Civility matter?

Before he was 16, George Washington thought about the rules effective citizens and leaders use for their own conduct

Sometime before he was 16, George Washington thought about and wrote down "Rules of Civility & Decent Behaviour In Company and Conversation".  They include:

  • Every Action done in Company, ought to be with Some Sign of Respect, to those that are Present.
  • Sleep not when others Speak, Sit not when others stand, Speak not when you Should hold your Peace, walk not on when others Stop.
  • Think before you Speak pronounce not imperfectly nor bring out your Words too hastily but orderly & distinctly.
(Remember, writing and spelling looked a little differently back then.)
Some of the "rules" are about simple manners, while others involve life skills including communications, persuasion, critical thinking and leadership. Did Washington remember those rules when he became the first President of the United States? Many scholars say yes. What do you think?

Learning opportunity

Incorporate the Rules of Civility into your classroom or dinner table discussion
  • Review George Washington's 110 Rules of Civility - do they still apply today? Why or why not?
  • Write your own Rules of Civility. What's most important to you, and why?
  • How important are rules of civility today? Is it old-fashioned, or relevant?
  • How do politics and civility go together? Should a political campaign follow rules of civility? Does that give them an advantage, or disadvantage? How would you advise a candidate or official to adopt (or ignore) rules of civility?
  • Think about candidates and people already in elected office. Do their actions follow George Washington's Rules of Civility? Your rules? Why or why not? Do they make up their own?
  • Does media and technology make it easier or harder to follow rules of civility? Why?
  • Tell us YOUR #1 Rule of Civility, and name an elected official or candidate who exhibits that quality, and why. With a #k12in2012 tag, post it on Facebook, tell us on Twitter or make and upload a YouTube video

Learn more

Library of Congress
George Washington's 110 Rules of Civility
Do you follow the rules? Lessons in Leadership

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

5 tips for being a good voter


1. LEARN about the candidates

Start with an issue you care about (education, environment, jobs, healthcare, etc.) and then find information about the candidates and their views on that issue.
Great places to look are the candidate websites, news sources such as C-SPAN, debates, and information at

2. THINK about the information

As you are thinking, ask questions
  • Is  this information helpful?
  • Is it from a good, truthful source? Does it fit with other facts you know? How does it make you feel?
  • Do you have enough information to make a decision? (if not, find more information!
Tip: In an election, focus more on the individual candidates, their ideas and solutions  - and less on the political parties and their platforms

3. DECIDE: Choose a candidate

Review what you have learned about the candidates - did they share ideas and solutions, or mostly complain about the opposing candidate?
Decide which one you most agree with. Based on the information you know, do you think the candidate will do a good job?


Every election, it is important to cast a ballot to make your voice heard!
Each area has a Board of Elections (North Carolina and Mecklenburg County) - find it on the web for information about voting in your area. Make family voting a habit. (In the  Charlotte area, students can cast a vote through the Kids Voting election!)

5. STAY ENGAGED: Keep paying attention and being involved

Once you vote, are you finished? NO!
  • After the election, look for the official election results.
  • Keep track of the winning candidates  - do they keep their campaign promises? do they make good decisions?
  • Stay involved - watch or attend government meetings, keep up with the news, and contact elected officials about issues you care about.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

GenerationNation offers k12in2012


Resource for K-12 students, teachers, parents

2012 is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for K-12 students to experience civics, government and leadership! GenerationNation’s k12in2012 website  - -  connects K-12 students with Election 2012 and civics in action through smart, fun and engaging educational resources and activities.

Nonpartisan resources and activities will take place through the Inauguration in January 2013, and include:
  • Educational tools, curriculum and activities
  • News and kid-friendly activities related to the conventions and Election 2012
  • Opportunities for students to put civics into action by communicating with officials, casting votes in the Kids Voting mock election (NC primary and general election), and sharing their photos and videos throughout the year
As Charlotte’s K-12 civic education champion for the last 20 years, GenerationNation (formerly known as Kids Voting Mecklenburg) is a nonprofit (501c3) organization that educates and engages K-12 students to succeed and lead in their schools, communities and nation. Through a combination of classroom activities and experiential learning opportunities, GenerationNation educates students about government, civic participation and leadership. Programs help students in school, build their civic literacy and develop young people as effective citizens and leaders. Current programs include K-12 civic education, Youth Civics, Youth Voice Leadership Alliance, Kids Voting, #k12in2012, and other initiatives.

For more information about GenerationNation, contact or visit

Monday, April 30, 2012

How to become President

What's the process for becoming President of the United States? Use this poster to help kids visualize the path to the oval office!

Download PDF
Order free poster

More resources

How do we elect the President?
Office of the President

Friday, April 27, 2012

Kids can vote in NC Primary

Want to weigh in on your picks for President, Congress and more?

Between April 26 and May 8, K-12 Charlotte-area students have the opportunity to cast their votes in the primary election with easy-to-use online ballots.  Voting will be open through 7:30PM on May 8. Results will be announced May 9.

To vote, click on the buttons below. On the ballot:

  • Grades K-2 - President
  • Grades 3-5 - President, Congress
  • Grades 6-8 - President, Congress, Governor
  • Grades 9-12 - President, Congress, Governor, Amendment One


Learn more

Find your congressional district
Learn about the candidates
Access curriculum and other educational tools
Download PDF of K-5 presentation
Download PDF of 6-12 presentation



North Carolina Primary

K-12 students vote now!

Vote online April 26-May 8.
Results announced May 9.


Contact us

Thursday, April 26, 2012

A great year to use the Kids Voting USA curriculum!

We are proud to be a 20-year Kids Voting USA partner!

In this exciting year,use Kids Voting USA's classroom activities to help your students learn about the election process, voting, democracy, civic engagement, media literacy and more!

To access the free online lessons, take the following steps
  1. Go to 
  2. A login page will open.
  • If you are a NEW USER
    • Click on the register link
    • Enter, and re-enter, your email address
    • Fill in your first name and last name
    • For affiliate name, write “Kids Voting Charlotte”
    • Fill in your school name and city
    • Choose your state from the drop-down box
    • Create, and re-enter, a password
    • Fill in the “captcha” code
    • Click “register” 
    • Within a period of time, you will receive an email from Kids Voting USA with a     confirmation and other login information
  •  If you are a RETURNING USER
    • Login using your email and password
3. After you log in, an introductory curriculum page will open.

4. Go to the bottom of the page, and select the appropriate links for your grade level
  • K-2 activities
  • 3-5 activities
  • 6-8 activities
  • 9-12 activities
5. Using the curriculum
The Kids Voting USA curriculum is designed to be flexible and easy to incorporate into existing lesson plans.  Within each age grouping, activities are divided into 4 major themes. From the curriculum page, click on the appropriate theme to access the individual activities.
  • Elections and Voting -The intent of this theme is to educate students about elections, from gaining an appreciation of the power of voting including what suffrage is and why it is an important concept today to understanding the registration process and participating in an election.  The theme’s activities fall under three concepts: My Vote Gives Me Power; I Register and Vote; and Suffrage Then and Now. Note: lessons in other themes tie in to elections and voting
  • Democracy and the People -The intent of this theme is to provide an understanding of and a context for American democracy and citizenship, from the rights and responsibilities of students in their local, state and national communities to the world beyond.  The theme’s activities fall under four concepts: What is Democracy; Democracy in America; A Citizen’s Rights and Responsibilities; and Democracy in the World.
  • Informed Citizen -The intent of this theme is for students to learn how to evaluate information, intelligently form decisions and communicate your positions to others.  The theme’s activities fall under three concepts: I Study the Candidates and Issues; Gathering and Weighing Information; and Technology/Media Literacy.
  • Civic Engagement/Service Learning -The intent of this theme is for students to practice the skills of democratic living as they learn important civic lessons in the classroom and participate in activities in their communities.  The theme’s activities fall under three concepts: Working Together; I Make A Difference; and Communicating with Others.

6. For your convenience, a PDF file of each activity is available for printing

7. ESL resources are also available on the website

8. Curriculum is aligned to national, state and district standards and goals. Alignment guides for the Common Core, North Carolina Essential Standards for Social Studies and other correlations are being developed in mid-2012. This content will be posted at and shared with teacher contacts. Contact us  for information.

Access Kids Voting USA curriculum and more information
Access Kids Voting USA curriculum
Download instructions for accessing curriculum
Lists of curriculum activities and more information
Kids Voting election

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

How do we elect the President of the United States?

If Election Day is November 6, that's the only day we have to think about electing a president...right? Wrong! There are many steps in the presidential election process. And - surprise! - the president is not officially chosen until the Electoral College votes in December - and those votes are counted on January 6, 2013. Here are the major steps it takes to elect the President of the United States:

Candidate announces that he or she is entering the race.

Primaries and Caucuses
Members of the same party run against each other, trying to become the party’s candidate. Each state holds its elections on specific dates in January-June.
  • Primaries: Party members vote for candidates, win delegates to the convention. North Carolina’s primary is May 8, 2012.
  • Caucuses: Party members select delegates to the convention at meetings.

Representatives, or delegates, of each political party meet to talk about the party platform and officially nominate their candidate. This person runs for President of the United States. 2012 conventions:
  • Libertarian Party - May 3-6 in Las Vegas, Nevada
  • Republican Party – August 27-30 in Tampa, Florida
  • Democratic Party – September 3-7 in Charlotte, North Carolina

Fall campaign and debates
Through campaigns, speeches, political ads and debates, the candidates communicate their positions on different issues. This is an important time when voters learn about the candidates, think about their positions, and decide who to vote for!

Election Day
Voters vote for president. This is called the “popular vote.” Election Day is November 6. In North Carolina, Early Voting begins in late October.

Electoral College
Through the “popular vote”, voters are really voting for electors who are pledged to a candidate. The Electoral College is made up of all of the electors.
  • The electors vote in December. A candidate must get at least 270 out of 538 electoral votes to win the election.
  • On January 6, Congress officially counts the ballots. If no candidate has at least 270 votes, the U.S. House of Representatives selects the president and the U.S. Senate selects the vice president.

Inauguration Day
The president and vice president are sworn into office on January 20. In 2013, it is possible that the President will have more than one swearing-in ceremony. Why?
  • January 20th is a Sunday. By law, the President must take the Oath of Office before noon. In 1985, when Ronald Reagan was sworn in on a Sunday, it was a private ceremony. A public event took place the following day.
  • In 2013, January 21st is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day – a federal holiday. People who plan the Inauguration will decide if the public ceremony should happen on that date, or on Tuesday, January 22. Stay tuned for more information!

Learn more

Electoral College
Office of the President
Path to the Oval Office
2012 Primaries calendar
Vote in the NC primary
Download handout - Electing a President

The Office of the President

The President of the United States

The office of the President of the United States is one of the most powerful positions in the world.

There are only a few hundred words in the U.S. Constitution about the president’s duties and powers but those few words give the President many powers.

The origin of all presidential power is in the U.S. Constitution and to understand the presidential role as it is currently exercised, one must understand this important founding document.  In addition, through time and tradition, other expectations and powers are placed on the President even though they are not spelled out in the Constitution.

Article II of the U.S. Constitution outlines the office, role, responsibilities and powers of the President of the United States.

Constitutional roles and powers of the President include:

  • Address Congress and nation
  • Commander-in-chief
  • Conduct foreign policy
  • Faithfully administer federal law
  • Maintain order
  • Negotiate treaties
  • Nominate top officials
  • Pardon for federal offenses
  • Veto bills

Additional roles and informal powers include:

  • Bargainer and persuader
  • Budget setter
  • Coalition-builder
  • Conflict resolver
  • Crisis manager
  • Legislative leader
  • Morale builder
  • Party leader
  • Personnel recruiter
  • Priority setter
  • World leader

Learn more

U.S. Constitution
The Executive Branch
Office of the President handout

Monday, April 16, 2012

James K. Polk - Charlotte's first president

Did you know a president was born in Mecklenburg County?

That's right! The 11th President of the United States, James K. Polk.

The President James K. Polk State Historic Site in Pineville is creating a temporary exhibit to educate the public about the history of political conventions in the United States and the role of conventions in American politics!

It will also cover the 1844 Democratic Convention in Maryland and James K. Polk’s presidential nomination. Visit the James K. Polk siste and learn about the history of these lively events! The exhibit is open April 14-November 10, 2012.

James K. Polk is Mecklenburg's first president. Who will be the second one? Maybe you!

Learn more

James K. Polk Historic Site
President James K. Polk
Election of 1844

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Doing democracy!

Want to find great lessons, ideas and activities that help your students learn about elections, voting and democracy North Carolina? Check out the North Carolina Civic Education Consortium (CEC). CEC works with schools, governments, and community organizations to prepare North Carolina's young people to be active, responsible citizens. The Consortium offers professional development for teachers and free, online lesson plans in the Database of Civic Resources.

Selected lessons and activities

Find more in the Database of Civic Resources

What Kind of Citizen Are You?
Doing Democracy
Can You Hear Me NOW? North Carolina’s Pre-Registration Law   and accompanying PPT
How Do I Pre-Register and Vote in North Carolina?
North Carolina’s Proposed Voter ID Bill
The Twenty-Sixth Amendment & the Power of Youth
Roles & Powers of the President
Propaganda & Spin
The Electoral College
Political Parties and Conventions   and accompanying PPT

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Electoral College

What is the Electoral College?

The Electoral College was established by the Founding Fathers as a compromise between election of the president by Congress and election by popular vote. Every four years, Americans cast their votes for president. Within each state, those votes go toward the electors who then vote for the President.

Learn more

  •  Order the free poster from C-SPAN here (one per registered teacher/classroom)

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Youth Voice speaks on CMS budget

Students from GenerationNation program Youth Voice Leadership Alliance spoke at the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools budget public hearing on March 27, 2012. Instead of lining up to ask for a favorite line item to be increased or prioritized, students asked school board members to focus on students, work together and think about the big picture.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

A mayor's welcome

Our Youth Civics class learned about the City of Charlotte and visited the City Council meeting...and got a nice shout-out from the mayor! Thank you, Anthony Foxx!

Wilson Hooper, from the city manager's office, outlined city services and led a discussion about the impact the DNC will have on Charlotte.

Monday, March 19, 2012

What's important to my government?

Ever wonder what's most important to your government? Check out the budget! That's where government officials and policymakers work to establish funding priorities.

What do the governments do? How do I find out about the budget?

City of Charlotte

Towns: Cornelius, Davidson, Huntersville, Matthews, Mint Hill, Pineville

Mecklenburg County

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools (CMS)

North Carolina General Assembly

Your turn

Budget process

When do governments make their budgets? For local governments, budgeting is done in the winter and spring. Usually they establish goals and strategies in the winter, and then from there the top administrator (the county, city or town manager or school superintendent) works with staff to develop a recommended budget. The recommended budget is just that - a recommendation based on what the manager, with input from government departments, policymakers and data from goals, past results, community needs and other information. A big factor is how much money is available to spend on budget items.

From there, the elected officials take a look at the budget, discuss it, give the public a chance to weigh in, and discuss it some more. The city, county and town budgets are adopted, or enacted into law, by June 30 of each year.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools' budget are handled a little bit the same and a little bit differently, in part because CMS is funded through other governments (as opposed to being able to ask people to pay taxes, like the county, city, state and federal governments do to get money to pay for their government services). The school district staff create a recommended budget. In 2012, this is presented in March. The school board and public have opportunities to weigh in. In April, the school board approves its budget request. Who are they requesting money from? The county and the state. This gets complicated, because the schools have to request money before the county or state decide how much money they can spend, and how much each agency - including the schools - will get.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Students weigh in on government priorities

Students collaborate, and vote by text message, on community priorities

At the March 6 Youth Summit, high school students discussed and weighed in on what they think city, county and CMS government leaders should be prioritizing.

Here's what they had to say:

City of Charlotte
Crime and safety - 57%
Job creation - 25%
Public transportation - 7%
Roads and streets - 4%
Affordable housing - 4%
Streetlights and sidewalks - 4%

Mecklenburg County
Health - 32%
Education - 32%
Libraries - 14%
Poverty reduction - 12%
Parks, recreation and greenways - 10%

County education spending
CMS - 68%
CPCC - 11%
Pre-K - 20%

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools (new spending items proposed for CMS budget)
Programs to attract great teachers - 43%
More high school teachers (focus on 9th grade) - 31%
Pay teachers and staff more - 17%
CMS communications (adding multimedia) - 6%
Expand Truancy Court - 3%
Tech facilitators for high schools - 1%

View photos
Learn more about Youth Voice Leadership Alliance

Friday, March 9, 2012

Charlotte Observer - Opinion - March 9, 2012

Without civics, American Idol judges better known than Supreme Court

From Julian Wright, chair of the GenerationNation board of directors and an attorney with Robinson, Bradshaw & Hinson, P.A

We live in an increasingly divisive and strident political climate. Students are watching. What are they learning?

Studies and surveys tell us that more Americans - and more youth - know less about government and civic life than ever before. Most cannot even name the three branches of federal government, much less say what each branch does. More Americans can name every judge on American Idol than one member of the United States Supreme Court. Fewer still know about their state and local governments or how citizens and leaders work together to create the policies and decisions that affect us every day.

Read more

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Democracy Day

We are excited to announce a partnership between GenerationNation and Rock the Vote to share Democracy Class with educators. Democracy Class is a one-period nonpartisan lesson plan that uses video, issues discussions and a mock election to teach young people the skills to navigate the elections process and register to vote so that they can truly take part in our democracy.

Sign up at and get your FREE toolkit including the lesson plan, video, voter registration forms, pledge to vote cards, buttons, T-shirts, and a banner to make this a day your students won’t forget!

March 23 is Democracy Day. On this day, educators across the country will bring Democracy Class into their classrooms, preparing high school seniors, and eligible juniors, to cast a ballot in their first election this November.

Texting to learn and make your voice heard

GenerationNation is partnering with NPower and ciber to develop programs that incorporate text messaging with civics education, youth leadership and youth voice.

Here's how students used texting to weigh in on city, county and school priorities 
View photos of the Youth Summit

Read more from NPower

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Can I register to vote?

In North Carolina, students who are 16 or 17 years old are allowed to pre-register to vote. What's more, students who will be 18 by Election Day (November 6) can register by April 13 and vote in this year's primary election on May 8. Of course, students who are already 18 are eligible to register and vote anytime.

Our partners at the Board of Elections, Civic Education Consortium, Kids Voting USA and Rock the Vote make elections and voting and fun and easy learning opportunity:

  • Set up a voter registration event at your high school. Contact Kristin Mavromatis at the Mecklenburg County Board of Elections for more information.The BOE will provide materials and instructions - everything students need to register.
  • Partner with the Board of Elections and GenerationNation/Kids Voting to host student council elections. High schools may use the Board of Elections voting equipment. Elementary, middle and high schools may use the online voting tool provided by GenerationNation/Kids Voting. Learn more 
  • Access K-12 educational resources about voting and elections from Kids Voting USA

Board of Elections
View more presentations from GenerationNation.

Thursday, February 16, 2012


High school students are invited to attend the 4th annual Youth Summit!

This is a great opportunity for you to collaborate, build leadership skills and discuss ways to make a difference on government policies, issues and decisions that impact YOU.

At the summit, teens will meet and collaborate with leaders from other schools and youth programs across the community.
  • Build leadership skills
  • Learn about government
  • Collaborate with other students on a Youth Agenda - which policies and issues do YOU think officials should be working on?
  • Talk with other teens about ways to connect every high school and youth organization with public officials, policy-makers and decision-makers
  • Get information about youth involvement for the Charlotte in 2012 DNC convention (non-partisan)
  • Represent your school, youth program or your interests in community issues, policies and decisions (schools, parks, libraries, transportation, environment, safety, budgets and more)
  • Service hours available

Who's invited?

High school student leaders - both serving in official leadership roles on student council/clubs and emerging leaders who want to make a difference at school and in the community. If you care what happens at your school or in the community, you're a leader.

When and where?

The Youth Summit will be March 6, 6:00-8:00PM at the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Government Center, room 267.

How do we sign up?

The event is free. Pre-registration is required.   Seats are limited, and food will be provided.

  • Include: student name, school, email address, phone number and leadership role or interests in local issues.

More information
  • Sign up for updates, future meetings, ways to make your voice heard
    Text YOUTHVOICE to 99000

The Youth Summit is hosted by Youth Voice Leadership Alliance, a student civic leadership program of GenerationNation (formerly Kids Voting) in partnership with CMS and government agencies, and funded in part through Crossroads Charlotte's Front Porch program and State Farm.