At Troy City Schools, students at every level learn about the presidential election. While the vast majority of students are clearly too young to vote on November 8, they will have an opportunity to make their voice heard in a district-wide mock election this Thursday, November 3.
Students in Grades K-12 will cast their votes for one of four presidential candidates via Google Chromebooks. On Friday, the results of the mock election will be broadcast to each classroom via state-of-the-art videoconferencing technology.
“Holding a mock election is important because it helps engage students in the political process,” said Social Studies Chairperson Matt Chapkoski. “Rather than simply teaching them about democracy, they get to experience and participate in an election.”
The experience is the culmination of several months of instruction on various facets of the election. Teachers have created myriad age-appropriate projects and lessons with the hope that students will become more informed on the process, the issues and the candidates themselves.
Fourth and 5th Grade students worked on opinion pieces based on research, participated in structured debates, learned election vocabulary and summaries of the hot-button issues at hand. Students at all levels learn how to verify sources and check facts.
Troy Middle School students are creating fictional candidates, choosing issues as platforms and creating campaigns based on their research.
At Troy High School, teachers are reporting a new level of engagement in this year’s election. Rick Steinbach teaches 12th Grade American History and Government where each day he begins his class by reviewing recent news or watching satire clips depicting the election. The class then has a discussion about it, which he says can often become heated.
“Kids are coming in with strong feelings and are more knowledgeable than ever,” he said. “Their attitudes certainly reflect what’s going on outside of the classroom and it doesn’t take much to get under their skin.”
Even non-core teachers are incorporating the election into their instruction. In Troy High’s Performance Art Class, students have included news headlines from the election into one of the songs of their Winter Performance. Troy Middle School art students have created presidential self-portrait posters as if they were running for president.
Teachers say that the process gives students the opportunity to create their own opinions based on research rather than the opinion of others.
We want our students making informed decisions and thinking critically about the issues facing our country,” said Chapkoski. “By modeling responsible voting, we are helping engage the next generation of civic-minded citizens.”
The results of the 2016 Troy City School District Mock Presidential Election will be posted Friday, November 4.