Education Technology

NCSS: The Electoral College Controversy

Published on 07/19/2006

Activity Overview

Students will examine presidential election results since 1824 to answer the question: Throughout history, is the Electoral College irrelevant or is there justification for the Electoral College system?

Before the Activity

See the attached Activity PDF file for detailed instructions for this activity.

Print the appropriate pages from the Activity for your class.

Install the CellSheet(tm) App on the students' graphing calculators following the attached instructions.

Review the basics of the Electoral College. Key points to review: electoral votes versus popular votes; the assignment of electoral votes based on census population data.

During the Activity

  • Distribute the appropriate pages from the Activity to your class
  • Distribute the CellSheet(tm) file(s) to your class using TI Connect(tm) and the appropriate TI Connectivity cable
  • Follow the procedures outlined in the Activity


  • Students will:
  • Examine the workings and history of the Electoral College system.
  • Evaluate the merits of the Electoral College system in the face of its historic behavior relative to the popular vote in national elections.
  • Design a campaign strategy for a modern-day presidential election based upon projections from data on past elections.
  • After the Activity

    Given the fact that there is a positive correlation between the winner of the popular vote and the winner of the electoral vote, instruct the students to answer the following questions (also available at the bottom of the Student Work Sheet) for homework. Remind students to be sure to support their position with a logical rationale, based on the data provided.

    1. Do you believe that this correlation between popular and electoral votes is a justification for using the Electoral College system? Why or why not?
    2. Could it be argued that because the correlation is strong, there is no reason to have the Electoral College? Why or why not?