Fanning the Flames: The Freedom Project Blog


The Road to the White House

By Shawn Healy
The title of the latest lesson plan designed by the Freedom Museum education staff, a simulation of the Presidential election. Designed for middle and high school students, this lesson plan seeks to illuminate an increasingly murky political process by assisting students with candidate research, followed by a step-by-step walk-through of both the primary and general election season, highlighted by role plays of the Iowa Caucuses and the New Hampshire Primary, a simulation of Tsunami Tuesday, and a demonstration of the inner workings of the infamous Electoral College.

The lesson folds out into a map perfect for any classroom wall that illustrates the lengthy process that begins on a cold January night in Iowa and culminates with Election Day on November 4, 2008. Oh, I almost forgot--it continues with members of the Electoral College voting on December 15th, followed by Inauguration Day on January 20, 2009.

We are hopeful that this election offers educators another one of those teachable moments, indeed many of them, for the elongated process requires persistent attention and thus explanation. It was our intention to provide teachers with the tools to make this happen, helping tomorrow's voters transcend political rhetoric, to engage in civil discourse with their peers and fellow citizens, and in turn become active participants in the election process.

To obtain a copy of the lesson for use in your classroom, please email our education staff at, or click here for a downloadable version of the document.


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Managing Director

McCormick Freedom Project

Shawn is responsible for overseeing and managing the operations associated with the McCormick Freedom Project. Additionally, he serves as the in house content expert and voice of museum through public speaking and original scholarship. Before joining the Freedom Project, he taught American Government, Economics, American History, and Chicago History at Community High School in West Chicago, IL and Sheboygan North High School in Wisconsin.

Shawn is a doctoral candidate within the Political Science Department at the University of Illinois at Chicago where he received his MA in Political Science. He is a 2001 James Madison Fellow from the State of Wisconsin and holds a bachelor's degree in Political Science, History, and Secondary Education from the University of Wisconsin at Madison.

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About Fanning the Flames and the McCormick Freedom Project

Fanning the Flames is a blog of the McCormick Freedom Project, which was started in 2006 by museum managing director Shawn Healy. The blog highlights the news of the day, in hopes of engaging readers in dialogue about freedom issues. Any views or opinions expressed on this blog represent those of the writers alone and do not represent an official opinion of the McCormick Freedom Project.

Founded in 2005, the McCormick Freedom Project is part of the McCormick Foundation. The Freedom Project’s mission is to enable informed and engaged participation in our democracy by demonstrating the relevance of the First Amendment and the role it plays in the ongoing struggle to define and defend freedom. The museum offers programs and resources for teachers, students, and the general public.

First Amendment journalism initiative

The Freedom Project recently launched a new reporting initiative with professional journalists Tim McNulty and Jamie Loo. The goal is to expand and promote the benefits of lifelong civic engagement among citizens of all ages, through original reporting, commentary and news aggregation on First Amendment and freedom issues. Please visit the McCormick Freedom Project's news Web site, The Post-Exchange at

Dave Anderson
Vice President of Civic Programs
McCormick Foundation

Tim McNulty
Senior Journalist
McCormick Freedom Project

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