Political Science Students: Questions To Think About

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Political Science
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Author: Emily Farris, Texas Christian University

Politico  asked some of the top historians to write a paragraph from the future, describing the contemporary moment in time. In their descriptions of the past decade, written 100 years from now, many described the decade by its massive racial, economic and political divisions. This exercise got me thinking about how one might adapt it to an Introductory political science class on the first (and last day) of class.

This spring, I plan on using a first day quiz that I borrowed from Dr. William Adler (NEIU), a few years ago. It asks nine+ questions, with some basic information that we cover over the course of the semester. I am thinking about adding a final tenth question that asks students to describe the current state of American politics, written for someone to understand 100 years from now. You could follow up with this over the course of the semester, asking how each topic (the media, public opinion, etc) might update their paragraph – and then use it again as a final essay questions.

First Day Questions

  1. What comes next: “We hold these truths to be self-evident…”
  2. How many times is God referenced in the Constitution?
  3. Name the 3 branches of America’s national government.
  4. What is federalism?
  5. What does Article I of the Constitution discuss?
  6. Can the president go to war without Congress’ permission?
  7. What was the result of the case Roe v. Wade?
  8. What does the Fourteenth Amendment say?
  9. Who are your representatives in Congress? in State legislature? In local government?
  10. In a paragraph, describe the contemporary state of American politics – so that someone reading this 100 years from now might understand the last decade of American politics.