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Volume 3 Number 12

Eric Carle said, "I long dreamt of a museum for children and families," and now his dream has come true...
Creating Courses Online from: TELEStraining Inc.
News from fhe Dirksen Center from: the Dirksen Center
Call for Papers: Secondary Education from: Academic Exchange Quarterly
ScienceIQ Press Release from:
NASA Needs Nation's Classrooms to test Educational Product from: the NASA Ames Educational Technology Team
December Columns
December Articles
December Regular Features
Gazette Home Delivery:

In Focus...
News from the Dirksen Center

From: Cindy Koeppel, the Dirksen Center


Congratulations to the following Robert H. Michel Civic Education Grants winners for the October 2002 round of competition:

  • Social Science Department at Missouri Southern State College, "Congress and the Nation" -- funded at $5,400
  • Raimonda Mikatavage, Independent T.V. Producer, "A Short Course in Civic Duty" -- funded at $3,500
  • Plainville (Connecticut) High School, "Curriculum Units for Civics and American Government Courses" -- funded at $4,000
  • Yvonne Powell, Jeremiah E. Burke High School, Dorchester, Massachusetts, "Congressional Firsts" -- funded at $3,000

Learn more about these grant projects and others at:

Do you have a project? Submit a grant proposal! For more information about how to submit a Robert H. Michel Civic Education Grants proposal, please visit:
Final proposals for our next round of competition must be received by May 1, 2003. If you have questions about the Robert H. Michel Civic Education Grants, contact Frank Mackaman at

Groundbreaking Ceremony

On February 11, 2002, The Dirksen Center announced plans to build a new facility -- follow developments at:
Find pictures of the October 24, 2002, groundbreaking ceremony at:


Today it's easier to vote than ever, but there is still a significant percentage of Americans who choose not to cast their ballots. In voter participation among the countries of the world, the United States ranks near the bottom.

In midterm elections, voter turnout has hovered around 35 percent for the past several years. This means that slightly more than one-third of eligible voters actually turn out at the polls and vote in midterm elections. Teachers, to help your students understand voting as a form of political participation introduce the following online activities posted on Congress for Kids:

Political Participation and Voting:
Expressing the Popular Will:

Crossword puzzle --

Self-assessment multiple-choice and true/false quizzes --

Redistricting simulation --

Voting in the United States is a two-step process: a person registers to vote at one time and then casts his or her ballot at another. Are you registered to vote? If not, register now! Visit our AboutGovernment Web site and complete the entire process online in only a couple of minutes. Find " -- Voter Registration for U.S. Citizens in the United States" at:

Teachers, if you are looking for an opportunity to make American Government more interactive and the process of voting more meaningful for students, introduce our featured CongressLink lesson plan. Find Election Activity: Decision 2002 or 3 or 4." at:

Political scientists have analyzed voting patterns and have found that older people with more education and higher income tend to be very active politically. The group aged 18 to 21 years old has the lowest voting percentage despite the passage of the Twenty-sixth Amendment. Why is it important to vote? Steve Frantzich, Professor of Political Science at the U.S. Naval Academy, answers this basic question in the selection at:

Featured Project

Sarah Dwelle, The Maggie L. Walker Governor's School for Government and International Studies, Richmond, VA, was awarded a $2,840 Robert H. Michel Civic Education Grant for her project, "Promoting Civic Involvement Through Simulated Elections and Related Activities." The Virginia Student/Parent Mock Election (VSPME) is a nonpartisan effort that gives students an opportunity to participate actively in the political process by simulating an election in schools throughout the state of Virginia. The objective of this project is to create a handbook for all participating schools. Learn more about this project and others at:

Who Can Vote? Who Can Play?

The party of the president almost always loses congressional seats in _____ elections, although President Bill Clinton and the Democrats bucked this trend in 1998.

A) Direct
B) Mid-term 
C) Indirect
D) Open Primary

Match the amendment with the group to which it gave the vote.

___ 14th Amendment
___ 15th Amendment
___ 19th Amendment
___ 23rd Amendment
___ 26th Amendment

A) women
B) residents of Washington, D.C.
C) white men who don't own property
D) 18-to 20-year-olds
E) men of color over 21

Which three groups of U.S. citizens are not eligible to vote today?

Possible Essay Question:

In 1960, 63% of eligible voters voted, but in 1996, only 49% voted, reflecting a steady decline in voter turnout over the last 36 years. Why do you think this is the case?

Answers to October's issue of "Fun, Facts, and Trivia" link here:

The Dirksen Congressional Center is pleased to announce an opportunity for you to join "The Dirksen Center Friends." Your $25 annual dues will support the work of The Dirksen Congressional Center, a non-partisan, not-for-profit organization that conducts educational and research programs for scholars, teachers, and students.

Join now and enjoy the benefits listed at:

Instructions for becoming a Dirksen Center Friend can be found at:

Thank you for your support!

That will do it for this month. Have a Happy Thanksgiving! Encourage your colleagues to subscribe to the Communicator. If you have questions, comments, or suggestions, contact Cindy Koeppel at Your feedback makes a difference!