An American Tradition
This week, Americans everywhere took part in the democratic process. While this election season has been far from traditional, it has been a learning experience for voters around the world. For teachers around the country, there has been a question of how to teach the election process while staying neutral. At Saint Andrew’s, our teachers and students have found a unique way to learn about, and participate in, this process.
Here are some of the ways our elementary school teachers have addressed teaching the election process this year:
In fifth and sixth grade, students learn about the process of how presidents are chosen through the electoral college. They learn about how and why the electoral college was established, what determines the number of votes each state gets, and the role of the popular vote in determining which votes go to which candidate. They examine an electoral map in order to see the number of electoral votes each state gets. They learn the difference between red states, blue states, and swing states. They look at recent election results and see how sometimes a candidate can lose the popular vote and still become president. Lastly, they discuss the popular vote versus the electoral college.
Third grade learned about the election process through reading a booklet and completing a few activities. After learning about the process, they completed a voter’s registration form, filled out their identification and voter’s cards. To conclude the unit, students created mascot posters and voted for their favorite mascot. They were surprised that the popular vote and electoral votes differ.
In seventh and eighth grade students went over the qualifications to vote in local and national elections. We then took a look at the different methods of early voting participation in Maryland and compared early voter turnouts to the 2016 election. Students reviewed how the electoral college worked and looked at numerous different polls in an attempt to predict what might happen based on historical trends and recent information. Students also asked questions of friends and family members about participation in elections and how they found information which impacted their ultimate voting decisions.
Kindergarten students learned about the process of voting and choosing a leader. We had two contestants for the classroom president, Paddington Bear and Moosey Moose. The children listened to their speeches and why they should choose them to be their President. It was a tough decision to make, as it was a choice between pajama parties, virtual field trips to National parks and ice cream treats. They completed voter registration cards, had their ID’s checked by our voting official, Mr. Wagner, filled out the ballots and got to vote in the voting booth.
For all of our students, there is one take away we want everyone to walk away with: win or lose, we are all part of one big community. We are glad to have our teachers embrace teaching what can be a sensitive topic in such unique and meaningful ways for our students.
Thank you to Mr. Lowman, Mrs. Fuerst, Mr. Wahl, and Mrs. Shanker for contributing to this week's post!