Discover Your Inner Politician

American Trustees Project

Dan Gattis / Patrick Rose from Annette Strauss Institute on Vimeo.

Warm-up (10-15 minutes)

  1. At the beginning of class, ask students: What are some necessary characteristics for becoming a politician (e.g. confidence, writing skills, ability to analyze objectively, public speaking skills, intelligence).
  2. Are there certain characteristics that make you more successful at doing your job than others? (e.g. clean desk/orderliness vs. people skills)
  3. Add a Research Component! You can also have the students use prior literature, textbooks, or the Internet to research some personal characteristics that have made politicians successful at their jobs in the past. Students can report back to their classmates about what their group discovered.

Application (30 minutes)

  1. Create a graph either on a poster or the chalkboard so that students can plot their results after answering the survey questions.
  2. Dimension 1 (along the x-axis) represents “People Skills” and Dimension 2 (along the y-axis) represents “Administrative Skills”.
  3. Ask students to answer the questions on the survey (download at and add up their individual scores.
    • Note: Students should have two scores, one for dimension 1 and one for dimension 2.
  4. Plot their score on the graph, (x=Dimension #1, y=Dimension #2) and identify what color quadrant each student’s score would fall into.
    • Note: Students can write their name on a slip of paper (download at and plot their “inner politician” on the graph.
  5. Based on the color quadrant of the students’ score, invite the students to flip their survey over (if double sided) or refer to page two of the survey, to discover what kind of politician they would be (i.e. Legislator, Governor, Attorney General, etc).
  6. Wrap Up: Ask the students if they were surprised by any of the job placements? Do they agree/disagree with what they discovered about their inner politician? Or their peers’ placement?

How to Create the Inner Politician Graph

Students will enjoy seeing how they compare to their classmates with this exercise! A great way to highlight these personal characteristic differences is to create a graph and ask students to label where they fall along the different dimensions.

  1. The x-axis will correspond to Dimension 1 and should be labeled 0-100 (in increments of 10).
  2. The y-axis will correspond to Dimension 2 and should be labeled 0-100 (in increments of 10).
  3. Yellow Area: Create a box in the middle of the graph which should fall between points 40-60 on Dimension 1 and 2 (i.e. both the x and y-axis). Shade this area yellow.
  4. Red Area: The remaining area (minus the area used for the yellow box) labeled 0-50 (along both Dimension 1 and Dimension 2). Shade this area red.
  5. Green Area: The remaining area labeled 50-100 (along the x-axis, Dimension 1) and 0-50 (along the y-axis, Dimension 2). Shade this area green.
  6. Orange Area: The remaining area labeled 0-50 (along x-axis, Dimension 1) and 50-100 (along the y-axis, Dimension 2). Shade this area orange.
  7. Blue Area: The remaining area labeled 50-100 along both the x and y-axis (both Dimension 1 and 2).


View American Trustees Videos ( to begin a discussion with students on important political figures or the role/responsibilities of those involved in government.

State Representative Dan Gattis, a sixth generation Texan, serves the people of House District 20 (Georgetown area) and State Representative Patrick Rose, serves the people of House District 45 that includes Blanco, Caldwell, and Hays Counties.

Annette Strauss,first elected female mayor to the city of Dallas, Texas often remembered not only a leader, but a civic saint.

To add a mathematics component, students can help create the graph by following points listed below and can shade in colors accordingly.

Plot these coordinates and shade the resulting box yellow:

  1. Draw a line between these coordinates: (40,40) (50,40) (60,40)
  2. Draw a line between these coordinates: (40,40) (40,50) (40,60)
  3. Draw a line between these coordinates: (40,60) (50,60) (60,60)
  4. Draw a line between these coordinates: (60,40) (60,50) (60,60)

Note: You can continue to have students plots the rest of the shaded areas accordingly.