Monday, November 5, 2012

Learning Democracy by Doing--Part 1

Less than a month before the presidential election, Ms. Murphy's second grade class started an election of their own.  It was a way to teach the kids about the electoral process and to have them democratically decide something important to them.  What was this burning issue?  The kids had to vote to choose a pet for their classroom.

Mrs. Murphy started by teaching the kids to think about the "pros" and "cons" of choosing a specific alternative.  Of course, first she had to teach them about what pros and cons were. The kids caught on quickly, practicing by coming up with the advantages and disadvantages of having a cat as their class pet.  

It soon became clear that a cat was not a good candidate.

Then Ms. Murphy split her class into three groups.  She gave each group a kind of creature to consider (much to the kids' disappointment, bunnies and dogs weren't included!). Each team was supposed to consider an animal's qualifications for the job, and if it was a likely candidate, they would mount a campaign.  They figured this out by, once again, coming up with the animal's pros and cons.  

All three groups found that the pros of their animal outweighed the cons.  The political parties were formed.  




The race was on!