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Learning Resources

Find Your Governor and Senators

First in the Nation - Curriculum Material by the State Historical Museum of Iowa
The State Historical Museum of Iowa has developed curriculum material as a companion to their new exhibit: First in the Nation: Shaping Presidential Politics since 1972. (PDF)


Snapshot History of the Political Cartoon
In the 18th century, Benjamin Franklin used pen names, such as Silence Dogood, to write essays to poke fun at the elite class and to express his opinions on a wide range of topics. His insatiable curiosity also led to a new understanding of lightning as electricity after Franklin conducted his famous experiment with kites. But did you know he was also the first political cartoonist? In 1754, his “Join or Die” cartoon was published to convince the British colonies to unite against the French and the Natives, according to the Library of Congress. Twenty years later, Franklin would join the colonists to declare independence from England as a new sovereign nation – the United States of America.

The above cartoon by Benjamin Franklin was published on May 9, 1754 in the Pennsylvania Gazette. It depicts a snake divided into 8 segments representing most of the British colonies – S.C. (South Carolina); N.C. (North Carolina); V (Vermont); M (Massachusetts); R (Rhode Island); N.J. (New Jersey); N.Y. (New York); and N.E. (New England for four colonies).


If you cannot view the video please click here.

Jan. 13, 2016

Student News Net SLOG Summary –What are the Iowa Caucuses?

What are the Iowa Caucuses? How do the Iowa Caucuses work? Who can participate? These questions are difficult even for many adults to answer. Iowa is located in the center of the country. Right now Iowa is also the center of the political universe because the Iowa Caucuses begin the long process of electing the next president on Nov. 8, 2016. On Feb. 1, 2016, Iowa Democrats and Republicans, the nation's two main political parties, will meet separately to discuss their respective candidates and vote for whom they think should be the next president. The Caucuses are different from presidential primaries but with the same purpose. After the Caucuses and primaries during which delegates are allocated, each political party will choose their candidate during their summer conventions. The State Historical Society of Iowa has created an exhibit to help explain the Iowa Caucuses and how these events have shaped presidential politics since 1972. Join Student News Net on Jan. 13, 2016 from the Iowa State Museum in Des Moines with Leo Landis, exhibit curator.

After watching the video and reading the material, you can still post questions in the "Chat and Collaborate" box to the right. Questions will be answered as soon as possible. 

 Entrance to the State Historical Museum of Iowa in Des Moines (Photo: SNN) 


1. caucus: a meeting of a group of people within a political party through which policies and/or candidates are chosen;

2. primary: a preliminary political contest between candidates of the same political party held to nominate a candidate to represent the party in a final election;

3. delegate: a person selected by a political party to attend a convention to vote for candidates from the party with the purpose of nominating candidates to represent the party in a future election;

Primary Source References

1. U.S. Senate

2. U.S. House of Representatives

3. George Washington's first inaugural address: Library of Congress (1789)

4. George Washington's Second Inauguration (1793)


1. What is the Electoral College? (National Archives)

2. Democratic National Committee (Democrats - DNC) –

3. Republican National Committee (Republicans - RNC) –

4. Other political parties – Libertarian Party and Green Party

The 'First in the Nation' exhibit at the State Historical Museum of Iowa in Des Moines has many artifacts from presidential campaigns throughout the history of the Iowa Caucuses beginning in 1972.
Practice Your Writing Skills by summarizing what you've learned by reading, sharing and participating in this SLOG.
Extra! Extra! Writing Practice - Click Here

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