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Covering the 2016 presidential election in the classroom

The third presidential debate will be held at the Thomas & Mack Center at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas on Oct. 19, 2016. (SBG)

Cindy Olsen's high school students are getting a lesson on the country's political process.

Some students are heading to the polls for the first time. Because these students are new to voting, Olson says questions about the candidates and how they've been acting in recent debates have been top-of-mind.

"I want you to think about what you would like to see happen from a political scientist perspective tonight?" Olsen asked.

"Since it's the last debate, they should really refer to the policy's more," one student spoke up. "I feel like they start out like that and then one person starts bashing on the other then it's like you did this, you did this, you did this."

Personal opinions about the candidates can get heated on social media and in everyday conversation. But Boise State political science professor Justin Vaughn says, in the classroom, there's a way to educate students about the process without getting personal feelings involved.

"Thinking about what was Donald Trump trying to accomplish... what was Hillary Clinton trying to accomplish," Vaughn said. "Who was more successful in accomplishing their goals? Those are the ways we can typically kind of analyze and talk about, in a useful way, the presidential debate."

Teachers also say it's not just the candidates who get brought up in these discussions, moderators are also part of the conversation.

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