Our unit on civics and government continues to progress, and we are now studying presidential elections. This week we learned who The Constitution states is qualified to run for president, and what unwritten qualities people look for in a president. Studying real campaign posters helped us determine that the people want a president who is trustworthy, energetic, focused, and kind. The students have also been reading a novel about a character who is campaigning for office (Bad Kitty for President, The Kid Who Ran for President, or NEATE to the Rescue).
We've also learned about the two main political parties, and the basic beliefs of each. Democratic posters taught us the symbol of the donkey, the party color of blue, and the main beliefs of social responsibility, equality, and a powerful government. Republican posters taught us the symbol of the elephant, the party color red, and the core beliefs of personal responsibility, limited government, and lower taxes. With their new understanding of candidates, campaigns, and parties, the students created their own campaign posters for a real or fictional candidate.
All of this background knowledge was put to the test today during our mock election! The campaign posters were hung in 2 categories, Democrat and Republican. We held a primary election to choose our 2 presidential candidates.
After the 2 presidential candidates were chosen, it was time for the general election. But FIRST, we had to learn about electoral colleges. The students cast their vote, and were then assigned a state to represent. This meant that their ballot would be worth the amount of electoral votes that their state gets. This added an element of suspense and surprise as I added up the votes.
As each ballot came in, I represented the votes in various ways, using tallies, tens and ones, or whole numbers. The students were then tasked to find the total for each candidate.
Even with the random voting and assignment of states, the election came down to just TWO VOTES! I'm sure you can imagine the excitement as democratic candidate Emma Cohen was announced the winner. Republican candidate Nate James gave a graceful concession speech, and President Cohen accepted the presidency equally as gracefully, promising to make our country proud.
Little people, big minds.