April 19th 2013April/May Calendar Announcements for The Heartworks and Renaissance Schools Read More
Renaissance School Students Culminate Study of Democracy with Election
At The Renaissance School at Shelburne Farms, 4th, 5th, and 6th graders collaborated in a study of the presidential election and voting over the past few weeks. The project culminated in two major pieces; one, a presidential debate and the other, an election. The project was a wonderful success, and many of the children stayed up late on Election Day to watch the returns and listen to President-elect Barack Obama’s acceptance speech.
For the debate portion of the project, children were asked whether they would like to represent the Republican or Democratic presidential candidate. Obama’s point of view was overwhelmingly popular, but in the spirit of fairness, several children volunteered to represent McCain’s point of view for the debate. Children discussed the qualities of a good leader and generated a list of topics of interest. The students gathered information about their candidate's position on one of the topics and presented their own speeches in a debate format, with some children also practicing impromptu public speaking by volunteering to answer questions from the audience.
As part of their studies of U.S. government, the 4th graders also held a Presidential election for the entire student body, as well the members of the faculty and staff. They took on the roles of election officials, electors, and polling place volunteers. Children wrote and delivered a short explanation of the two major presidential candidates and explained the voting process to each of the classes. The election official for each class escorted voters to the polling place, helped them check in, and answered questions concerning the ballot. They then tallied the votes and took on the role of an elector, casting a ballot for the majority winner in that class. Students found that, as in the actual election, Obama won the popular vote by a wide margin. Throughout this process, children gained experience and knowledge of the democratic process in the United States and all the steps involved in electing a US President.
Joshua delivers his perspective as a US Presidential candidate at a US Presidential debate.
Philippe (right), an “election official”, helps Abigail (left), “voter,” with deciphering her ballot at The Renaissance School’s Election Day Vote.