Visualizing The 2016 Conventions – Interactive Tools To Learn About Parties & Politics


The quadrennial political conventions of the Republican and Democratic parties offer a mix of serious-minded civics and high-octane pageantry. For students, teachers, and outside observers, the 2016 extravaganzas provide important forums to dissect the details of the delegates and to hear our nation\’s leaders speak directly to us.

Whether for use now in July or for lessons in the fall, a host of valuable visualizations exist to explain the esoteric proceedings. These interactive infographics and animated videos touch on a range of learning standards. They also let users explore the conventions at their own paces and levels.

History And Civics


Political conventions as currently staged are relatively new phenomena on the historical landscape. The explainer video (above) from The Guardian supplies a helpful tutorial in the germination and the evolution of party gatherings.


The \”National Conventions 2016\” infographic from Independence Bunting also does a good job of summarizing the essential facts for this year\’s stagings, with an emphasis on the numbers and statistics beneath the process.


The Economist goes back to the nineteenth century with a year-by-year pictorial timeline of candidates and events that marked each party choice. The Economist also delves into personal identification by visually outlining the liberal or conservative leanings of current and past voters.

Delegates And Primaries



The political site 270 To Win aggregates polling and election data to compile data-driven maps and charts. These are excellent tools for both social studies and mathematics education.


For example, the colorful U.S. map of Democratic delegates combines month-by-month coding with primary and caucus breakdowns. The Interactive Republican Delegate Calculator presents similar information in an enlightening statistical table.

Maps And Geography



On their convention pages, each political party provides engaging information about their host cities. The Democrats link to a multi-layered interactive map of downtown Philadelphia. The Republicans include similar Cleveland maps, but they also include a hoverable floor plan from inside the Quicken Loans arena.


Streaming And Social Media



The official websites of the Republican and Democratic Conventions will be streaming live the gavel-to-gavel coverage. Social media is also in play, with the Engage \”Scorecard\” tracking Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other mentions in real-time. For a comprehensive look at news and opinions, The New Yorker is posting a continuous series of cartoons, histories, and graphics about each convention.

For other teaching ideas about the 2016 election, check out: