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Fort River Embraces Mock Election
Submitted by kochn on Wed, 11/21/2012 - 11:26am.
On November 6th, Fort River students of all grades participated in a mock presidential election. The curriculum for fifth grade students includes learning about the government, and the Fort River staff decided to turn lessons into something more than just simple lessons.
The unit started off with a broad look at civics and government, and the students then delved into more complex issues, such as taxes, immigration, healthcare, and the economy.
“There is a huge amount of content and vocab to learn,” said Linda Castronovo, a fifth grade teacher, but she believes that all the hard work is paying off. “Fifth graders can now go into a kindergarten classroom and explain taxes.”
The students also focused on other issues closer to home, such as learning about different levels of citizenship. Castronovo mentioned that this unit was particularly important to children in the ELL (English Language Learning) program. “Students that have emigrated from other countries bring a different perspective.”
Finally, the students focused on the powers of the government, such as the presidency and the system of checks and balances. One of the biggest learning steps for the students was realizing that the president is not “all powerful.” To better understand the process, the fifth grade elected their own student Congress which, in turn, helped the rest of the school to become more involved. The members of Congress “registered” the other students so that they could vote, and were responsible for distributing information about the candidates to the other grades.
While the teachers stressed their objectivity in teaching the subject, President Barack Obama won 90% of the vote, while challenger Mitt Romney received only 10% of the vote. It is possible that the voters received a biased view of some of the issues from their parents. However, the process was more important than the outcome.
The “hands on” approach was what contributed most to the feel and success of the election. The students took part in role playing, showing how different scenarios could have worked out.
“Registering the voters was all very real to me,” said one fifth grader, Liam, who followed the real election closely as well. “I liked the whole voting process too.”
Danielle, another fifth grader, agreed that the realistic experience was memorable. “We have our own Congress, and they make announcements over the loudspeaker.” Danielle particularly enjoyed being in charge of informing the other voters about the candidates.
Whatever its current impact, the staff at Fort River hopes that the election will positively affect the students. Castronovo expects that students will have a positive memory of voting, and will stay involved in elections in the future. “I feel like we have some budding politicians here!” she exclaimed jokingly.
Last updated November 21, 2012