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Civics in Action! - The Iowa Presidential Caucuses Workshop 2016










The Iowa Presidential Caucuses provided a life-changing opportunity for KidUnity students to participate up-close in the 2016 election process as student journalists. 


  • Political reporting / journalism and the use of social media in politics

  • Presidential election process (primary system, Iowa caucus process, electoral college system)

  • 2016 candidates and major campaign issues*

  • The state of Iowa

  • The role of the media in politics


*Our program will engage students in all of the central issues of the campaign, inlcuding sensitive topics such as immigration, reproductive rights, and race.


Introducing Civics in Action! The Iowa Presidential Caucuses Workshop

October 22 (8:10am)

Parents are invited to attend an informational session about the Iowa Workshop program in the CS conference room.


David Snow and Peter Sheehy will highlight the goals and expectations for the workshops and trip.

Civics in Action! - Trip and Course Overview

December 2, 2015

In our first student meeting we will discuss the details of the program and the trip. We will present a detailed itinerary and discuss our goals/expectations for the program.


Students will be approaching the primaries from the perspective of journalists. We will explain how this will shape the subsequent sessions and experience in Iowa.


Students should be prepared to select two candidates (one Democrat and one Republican) and two issues about which they will become experts.

2016 The Candidates

December 9, 2015

Students will join representatives from the local Democratic and Republican parties in a debate/discussion of the major candidates in the 2016 election.


We will examine candidates' biographies and qualifications, as well as where they stand in the latest political polls (especially Iowa!).


Students will begin formulating questions for the candidates and their staff about the candidates' experience.

2016 The Issues

December 16, 2015

Students will define, analyze, and debate the major issues of the 2016 campaign.


We will examine debate highlights and discuss the candidates' records on the major issues of the campaign. 


Students will begin formulating questions for the candidates and their staff about their policy positions.

The Primary Process and the Iowa Caucuses

January 6, 2016

Students will learn how and why the Iowa caucuses are unique and influential. We will discuss different state's approaches to the primary, with an emphasis on the personal and local dynamics of the Iowa system. We will prepare students to step into many of the 99 Iowa conventions that take place in schools, churches, public libraries and even individuals' houses!


Students also will gain insights into the issues that Iowans care most about. They will gain a fundamental understanding of the state's political climate, demographics, and economy. While studying the state we will also plot and review our route/itinerary and identify fun activities and stops that will make our tour of Iowa both exciting and educational.


Once we are on the road the kids will be charged with making many of our decisions about what candidates/opportunities to follow, as well as where our next meal will be!

Life on the Campaign Trail

January 11, 2016

The students will meet with Michael Dukakis and hear first hand about what it is like to run for president of the United States.


This special session will be held at UCLA and is open to parents as well.

Political Reporting, Practice Interviews and Campaigning Insights

January 20, 2016

Students will learn from guest speakers about the fundamentals of reporting and filing a political story. We will review our partnerships with local and national media outlets and prepare the students to meet their daily story filing deadlines during our Iowa tour.


Students will become fluent in print, social media, or video, and become comfortable with the technology ncessary to make their reports from Iowa both polished and persuasive.


KidUnity reporters will begin posting campaign news and analysis to the KidUnity IOWA BLOG, as well as to local media sites.


KidUnity Reporters will have the opportunity to conduct practice/mock interviews with local civic leaders and go through the motions of filing a story and/or posting to KidUnity social media sites.



Pep Talk!

January 27, 2016

Our final session before departing for Iowa will provide time for the students to review the files they have been building on the candidates and issues. We will also make sure that everyone is comfortable with our technology, our plans for deploying a variety of journalistic teams in the field, and the process for reporting and filing stories.


We will take one last look at the polls, assess the state of the race, and make sure that our team is ready!

On the Ground in Iowa

January 30-February 2

Our Iowa itinerary will remain flexible so that we can provide the most exciting, behind-the-scenes access for the students. Highlights of our trip will inlcude:

  • Meetings with candidates and/or their staff

  • Visits to local newspapers and television stations

  • Attendance at camapign headquarters while caucus results are being processed

  • Conversations with local farmers, civic leaders, and teachers

  • Door-to-door campaigning and phone banking

  • Visits to caucuses (and participation to the extent allowed to by law)

  • Skyping with representatives from major media outlets to guide and inspire our team

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