Unit 2 | Civic Engagement

How can students become informed voters in both local and national elections?

In two lessons, this unit helps students become informed voters and understand local politics and their impact on it. Offering youth opportunities to take informed action enables them to apply their learning to real world contexts, develop civic knowledge, build civic skills, gain experience working with others, and deepen their civic commitments. Educators can play a key role in supporting youth to analyze issues fully in order to identify relevant and effective tactics and strategies for action, as well as learning the skills needed to tap into the power of digital media to participate in a variety of ways.

A note about these lessons:  The individual materials in this collection have been developed and are maintained by the Civic Engagement Research Group at the University of California Riverside. 

Unit Overview

Gold Circle with the words State Seal of Civic Engagement with an outline of California and the American flaf

Implementing High Quality Civic Engagement Projects




two voting booths
Image C​​​​​​redit
Gregory Urquiaga
 How do we motivate and create informed voters?

This lesson will guide students in identifying issues that they and their classmates care about most for the November election. Students will learn to evaluate candidates' positions on those issues for elections in the House of Representatives and the Senate, as well as evaluate where the presidential candidates stand on these issues. On the second day of this lesson, students will create a voting plan for eligible voters in their community and reflect on their efforts to support eligible voters.


A ballot being placed into a ballot box, with "I Voted" stickers sitting atop it.
Image Credit
Karin Higgins
How can we increase turnout in local elections?

In this second lesson, students will identify local officials up for reelection, research their responsibilities, and evaluate their accomplishments and priorities during their time in office. Students will use this knowledge on the second day to evaluate voter turnout in local elections in Yolo County and research the measures that Yolo County residents will find on their ballots during the election. This will help students reflect on ways to encourage others to vote down the ballot.