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 core 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. Knowing that the first real presidential debate is tonight, the students wanted to give the candidates a chance to speak to the voters.
After hearing what each candidate had to say about what the country needs in a president, the voters were ready to make their decision. The students cast their vote, but before they submitted their ballots, I threw in a twist: the electoral college!
Each student was 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 totals.
As each ballot came in, I represented the votes in various ways, using tallies, tens and ones, or equations. The students were then tasked to find the total for each candidate.
In the end, candidate Harris won the most electoral college votes. However, the real winners in this scenario are the 3rd graders, who now have a much deeper understanding of our complicated election process.
Little people, big minds.