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Teachers' Corner

This website was developed with teachers in mind. We hope that you will be able to use it to teach your students about history and government in San Mateo County and the State of California.

Several teachers in San Mateo County helped us with suggestions for the website. Their input was extremely helpful in more closely matching this website with the needs of teachers. Our thanks go out to

    Robin Klein, Henry Ford Elementary
    Randi Lucas, Henry Ford Elementary
    Margarita Mendez, Adelante Spanish Immersion School
    Becky Peters, Henry Ford Elementary
    Toby Pollack, Kennedy Middle School

Below you will find lesson plans and worksheets to help you use this website more effectively for learning. A complete Teacher's Guide is also available for download, which includes all of the lesson plans listed below. Feel free to use these lesson plans and worksheets, along with any other part of this website including pictures, for educational purposes.

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Voting (the process, importance of)
Kids' Corner Activities: Everyday Government, Victor Voter's Voting Adventure, Follow a Bill!, Follow the County Campaign Trail, Voting Wish List, Cast Your Vote
Lesson Plans View Download
Everyday Government: Students will learn how the government impacts them in their daily lives. They will begin to identify the people who work hard to make their community a strong and vibrant place to live. This lesson will also begin to identify some of the reasons that are critical for community members to vote, in order to maintain the strength of the community. HTML PDF
Victor Voter's Voting Adventure: Students will learn the necessary prerequisites for an individual to vote. They will examine the actual percentages of voter participation in their county and begin to think about issues that are connected to low voter turnout. Students will create and conduct a survey and analyze their findings, to help them further understand the causes of low voter turnout and, based on their findings, propose solutions to increase voter participation. HTML PDF
Follow a Bill! Students will learn how a bill becomes a law in California by participating in the Kids' Corner activity, Follow a Bill! They will then apply some the steps that they learned to create a school-wide initiative that they will first introduce to the student body in a survey. After reviewing the survey results and revising the initiative to reflect the interests of the student body, students will then present their initiative to the student council for a vote. HTML PDF
Follow the Campaign Trail Project: Students choose a candidate that they would like to follow individually, in small groups or as a class (depending on the age of the students). Students engage in a research project to find as many campaign items as possible, used to publicize their candidate. Students assess strengths and weaknesses of their candidates. (Note: this lesson plan should be taught anywhere from 2 weeks to month prior to an election date). HTML PDF
Citizenship (community participation)
Kids' Corner Activities: Be a Supervisor for a Day, Follow a Bill!, Everyday Government, Make a Difference, What Makes a Leader
Lesson Plans View Download
Leader for a Day: Students will participate in the Kids' Corner computer activity, Be a Supervisor For a Day, to learn what it is like to be a leader in our community. They will compare and contrast the Supervisor's typical schedule with their own. They will then participate in the PBS Democracy Project activity, Be President for a Day to discover the similarities and differences between the two leaders' jobs. Based on what they learn, students will identify the characteristic that they believe is the most important for a leader to have. Students will graph the class results and make statements about the class data. HTML PDF
Follow a Bill: Students will learn how a bill becomes a law in California by participating in the Kids' Corner activity, Follow a Bill! They will then apply some the steps that they learned to create a school-wide initiative that they will first introduce to the student body in a survey. After reviewing the survey results and revising the initiative to reflect the interests of the student body, students will then present their initiative to the student council for a vote. HTML PDF
Everyday Government: Students will learn how the government impacts them in their daily lives. They will begin to identify the people who work hard to make their community a strong and vibrant place to live. This lesson will also begin to identify some of the reasons that are critical for community members to vote, in order to maintain the strength of the community. HTML PDF
Make a Difference Project: Students apply the knowledge and understanding that they have gained about civics and community responsibility to design and implement a community service project. Once the project is completed, students reflect on the lessons learned and creatively express ways that they can continue to make a difference in their communities as active participants and caring citizens. HTML PDF
Government (history, information, decision making)
Kids' Corner Activities: Incorporated and Unincorporated-What's the Difference?, City Spotlights, What Was It Like? San Mateo County History, Everyday Government, Reporter's Notebook, Be a Supervisor for a Day, Follow a Bill!, Government Officials Word Search, City Scramble, San Mateo County Word Fun, Coloring Book, California Fun Facts
Lesson Plans View Download
Checking County Numbers: Using the San Mateo County Statistics information page, students will learn how to create graphs from tables and interpret data presented in a variety of different formats. HTML PDF
City Spotlights: Students will learn the names and historical past of the San Mateo County incorporated cities. They will also learn the difference between incorporated cities and towns and unincorporated communities through internet research and a local fieldtrip. They will use the information that they gather to continue a research project about the History of San Mateo County (which began with the What Was It Like lesson). This project is intended to culminate with the County Chronicles project. HTML PDF
What Was It Like?: Students will participate in a fun historical game about the History of San Mateo County to earn the designation of History Buff. They will use the information that they gather to begin a research project about the History of San Mateo County. This project is intended to continue with the City Spotlight lesson and culminate with the County Chronicles project. HTML PDF
Everyday Government: Students will learn how the government impacts them in their daily lives. They will begin to identify the people who work hard to make their community a strong and vibrant place to live. This lesson will also begin to identify some of the reasons that it is critical for community members to vote, in order to maintain the strength of the community. HTML PDF
Reporter's Notebook: Students will research their local government officials through the Kids Corner site. Each student will write a letter to one government official and present questions that he or she would like to have answered. Students will then report their findings to the class to build a deeper understanding of the ways that county government officials serve the community. This lesson is intended to be taught before participating in the County Chronicles project. HTML PDF
Leader for a Day: Students will participate in the Kids' Corner computer activity, Be a Supervisor For a Day, to learn what it is like to be a leader in our community. They will compare and contrast the Supervisor's typical schedule with their own. They will then participate in the PBS Democracy Project activity, Be President for a Day to discover the similarities and differences between the two leaders' jobs. Based on what they learn, students will identify the characteristic that they believe is the most important for a leader to have. Students will graph the class results and make statements about the class data. HTML PDF
Follow a Bill: Students will learn how a bill becomes a law in California by participating in the Kids Corner activity, Follow a Bill! They will then apply some the steps that they learned to create a school-wide initiative that they will first introduce to the student body in a survey. After reviewing the survey results and revising the initiative to reflect the interests of the student body, students will then present their initiative to the student council for a vote. HTML PDF
County Chronicles Project: Using the historical information gathered from the What Was It Like? and City Spotlights lessons, and additional information gathered from the Reporter's Notebook lesson, students will design a San Mateo County historical newspaper for a certain point in time. The newspaper can include advertisements, world events, political news, sports, with a special emphasis on county news. HTML PDF