Election 2016 Results by State Popular and Electoral College

The election on November 8, 2016 was a very close call in so many key states. It was also the first time that I remember the candidates being so divisive in style, rhetoric, message, policy, and yes, ethics. So many children were angry on Wednesday morning that I created a lesson focusing on how the results stacked up from a mathematical perspective. Some of their comments were so anti-Trump using mean language (e.g., "bully") that I cautioned them to not behave the way you are accusing the president-elect of acting. I encouraged them to educate themselves about the issues and get involved in politics so in 12 years they will make an informed decision.


We talked a lot about how mathematics played a role in predicting and determining the winner.


I first educated them about the past 16 elections using country maps with each state being assigned red or blue for Republican or Democrat, respectively (please see the attached pdf and talk to your children about your historical perspective from Eisenhower to Obama. It is noteworthy that Massachusetts, although it has voted Republican, even voted Democrat when Nixon ran in 1972 (one of the only states that did).


I created a spread sheet with each state in alphabetical order with the popular vote for Trump and Clinton and asked the children to determine the winner. Mathematically, could they look at 6 and 7 digit numbers and determine which is greater, and indicate the winner by color. Then, the children were tasked to look at the CNN statistical data to find the number of Electoral College votes that were assigned to that state. For example, since Clinton won California, she received all 55 electoral votes and since Trump won Arizona, he received all 11 electoral votes. They had to put the electoral votes in the correct column so they could add them up at the end. 


The 3-6th graders were also asked to find the difference of the popular votes for each candidate by state. This is great practice using standard algorithm for subtraction and shows them how close the voting was in the key battle-ground states. We discussed what these states represented and how Trump won many of these races giving him the edge he needed to win the presidency. 


Each student was asked to color in the winner’s color in the state and write in the number of electoral votes assigned. This should be placed in their room at home or on the refrigerator to spark discussion about how the country is thinking at this time. Of course, this also helps with geography; we are a very Massachusetts-centric population (and no children, Alaska and Hawaii are not south of New Mexico and Texas).



I hope everyone enjoys this lesson as much as I did creating it.

Elections_since_1952_Maps_red_and_blue.pdf652.43 KB
Election_Results_by_State_Popular_and_Electoral_1-2.pdf969.63 KB
Election_Results_by_State_Popular_and_Electoral_3-6.pdf924.56 KB
Election_Results_by_State_Statistics.pdf1.82 MB