Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Visual Resources To Teach About The U.S. Government Shutdown

Source: International Business Times
(click for detail)
The shutdown of the United States government began today. With no plan of action from either political party, there is consequently no easy lesson for teachers to share with their students.

Any discussion of the current Congressional stalemate naturally begins with a civics lesson about political parties and the separation of powers. The questions today from our students, however, quickly centered on issues of blame and health care.

Fortunately, a collection of visual resources from various media outlets do exist to help children learn about the overarching meaning of a shutdown, as well as more granular details about federal budgets and opinion polls.

A good place to start is the short video from the BBC, entitled "US Government Shutdown In 60 Seconds." The clip addresses questions that might be worrying children, such as whether the pandas in the National Zoo will be fed (yes).

Another key interactive tool is the "US Government Shutdown" visualization from Michael Bauer at School Of Data. By rolling over variously sized color bars, the pop-up box provides figures about how each federal agency will be affected.

Source: School Of Data

Bauer's interface is similar to the helpful infographic from The New York Times, entitled "Who Goes To Work? Who Stays Home?"

Source: The New York Times (click for detail)

To explore how individual citizens will be impacted by the shuttering of departments, have the students explore the infographic from the International Business Times, entitled "How Would A Government Shutdown Affect Your Life?" Or take a look at the slide show from USA Today that catalogs the "Government Shutdown By The Numbers."

Source: USA Today

If students ask questions about which party is to blame, or about how the American people will react, take a look at the graph of a Rasmussen poll that asks, "Would A Government Shutdown Be..."

Source: MyGovCost.org

You could also share the results that found a "Majority Want No Shutdown."

Source: National Journal

If you are searching for historical information about past government closures, the bar graph from Seth Kadish at Vizual Statistix documents the anomalous nature of our current predicament.

Source: Vizual Statistix

For a road map to the current termination, the graphic designers at The New York Times have once again put together a clear and illuminating flowchart of Congressional actions.

Source: The New York Times (click for detail)

Finally, if your students are having a hard time understanding the basic nature of the federal budget, try incorporating the interactive chart from the New York Times that details every 2012 proposed expenditure. It is posted on a terrific list of graphs via Poynter, entitled "As Government Shutdown Looms, 5 Interactives Explain The Budget Battle."

Source: The New York Times; Poynter

1 comment:

  1. I love the video. Everyone loves Pandas!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!LOLOLO


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