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By jobphillips
On July 6, 2018

Lesson Plan: An Introduction to the C-SPAN Video Library

Using the C-SPAN Video Library

A brief explanation on how to use the C-SPAN Video Library.


This activity is a way to introduce your students to C-SPAN's extensive Video Library. This will help students gain an understanding of what content C-SPAN covers. It can also help prepare students for further topical research and collect information for the StudentCam contest.


  • Step 1.

    Show the following video to students which gives a quick preview of the C-SPAN Video Library.

    C-SPAN Video Library Quick Preview (YouTube)

  • Step 2.

    Have students go to the following website to see the top viewed political events covered by C-SPAN from 1987 to 2017.

    C-SPAN Top Viewed Videos over 30 Years (C-SPAN Website)

  • Step 3.

    Have students choose one video from the 120 which are listed. Each student should choose a different video.

  • Step 4.

    Make a copy of the Google Doc below. Then share a link to your Google Doc with your students.

    C-SPAN Top Viewed Videos (Google Doc)

  • Step 5.

    Have each student complete a review box by answering the required information in the Google Doc to check for understanding.

  • Step 6.

    Show the students the video clip title "Using the C-SPAN Video Library" to better understand how to find their own video clips. Have students find and create a clip they would add to the "top political events" or a clip they might use in the StudentCam competition.

  • Step 7.

    Finish up the activity with one of the following suggested tasks:

    • Have students share the clip they created with the class or report out on what they clipped and why.

    • Have students read through the reviews and rank events from most important to least important according to different criteria (ex: biggest impact on America, biggest impact on the way government operates, etc).

    • Create a "C-SPAN 30 Years" bracket (similar to March Madness) to help determine which clip is the "champion" news event in the last 30 years. Students can argue for each winner and vote by round to advance that event. There are numerous "Bracket Generators" available on the internet.


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