To kick off our Super Tuesday resources, we selected a superb article and links written by our friend and colleague, Charlie Fitzpatrick from ESRI. We hope this will help  your students connect geography to their every day lives.

“Two simple questions comprise a stunning opportunity for social studies teachers across the US: “In the time remaining before the election, where should candidates allocate resources? Why?”

Consider: Which states have the most electoral votes? Which states have been “reliable backers” of a party? Which states have been “close calls” in the past, or flipped parties? Which states have stronger voter turnout, and in what way is that influential? Do any racial/ethnic groups or age bands have special concerns? How is the economy within the state? While every state is electing members to the US House, some states are also electing members to the US Senate, or Governors, and will that help or hurt a presidential candidate in a given state?

How a teacher addresses this is worth considering. I have posted two relevant items: one is a resource for use in ArcGIS Online: a layer of states with a ton of data; the other is a map with the data preconfigured to highlight certain contents. It is like the difference between a stocked kitchen and a prepared buffet table; each offers choices, depending on what you seek.

But each still relies on the same concept, about which some educators and influencers of education policy must be reminded. Life is full of such ill-structured problems, and students need to practice the process that employers seek and adulthood demands: identifying the key question/s, locating relevant and reliable data, analyzing said data, interpreting and integrating the results, and identifying (if not undertaking) a recommended course of action. While the problem-solving process may be described in a linear fashion, the path undertaken may meander, loop, include some dead ends, accumulate a stunning volume of background knowledge, and conclude in a place not originally contemplated. Carefully scripting a path for learners to follow may generate a particular visual result, but may not yield anything close to similar knowledge. (See related blogs.)

Being able to recall the facts in the above table or follow successfully a precise script are vastly less helpful than being able to use them in creative and analytical ways to achieve a goal. To the degree that education emphasizes fact accumulation or prescribed results (precise, predictable, easy to test) versus process development (multi-faceted, divergent, challenging to assess) is the degree to which life’s real problems will continue to vex us all.”

At we curate and bring you the best science resources from the web. We hope our sharing will keep you up to date on the latest science and geospatial news. Click here to view the full article in its original format from the GIS Education Community blog from ESRI.

With Super Tuesdays we are careful not to endorse either party. We strive to present unbiased links that can spark conversations based on current events in your classroom.