Every decade, after each United States census, states engage in redistricting, the redrawing of congressional and state legislative boundaries. This process often becomes politicized, with district lines drawn to create partisan advantages and disadvantages, a tactic known as gerrymandering. The census count has numerous effects, and one of the most important is its impact on our representative democracy. With the 2022 midterm elections on the horizon, what’s at stake now is control of the House of Representatives.
This 11-minute video and accompanying lesson plans explore the ways reapportionment and redistricting affect how and by whom the people are represented. Students will examine interactive resources to explore how changing district lines can affect the balance of partisan power, and evaluate criteria for drawing district lines. They will experiment with interactive maps to see both historic and contemporary changes to the balance of power among states, and discover who has power within those states to redraw the lines. These activities ask students to examine primary sources, pose questions for investigation and gather additional narratives.