The Candidate

Social Studies and Language Arts Activity

Students plan a campaign for a candidate for a student government.

WHAT YOU NEED

WHAT TO DO

  1. Tell students that they are going to elect a student government for their class. With student input, list three or four offices that would form that government. Discuss what the responsibilities of each office holder would be.

  2. Have students share what they know about election campaigns, such as speeches, political slogans, posters, rallies, and greeting voters. Record the information on a chart. If possible, invite a local elected official to speak to the class about his or her political race. Have students prepare questions in advance.

  3. Divide the class into campaign teams, two for each office. Tell the teams that they are to plan a campaign for one office, choosing their candidate from among their own team members.

  4. Have teams meet and plan their campaigns. Work with individual teams as they complete their plans. (To carry the concept further, you might present yourself as a political consultant, available to any campaign to offer helpful suggestions.)

  5. With students, decide on an election day and allow one week for the actual campaign. (You might want to point out that in real political campaigns in this country, there are no limits on when campaigning can start.) During that last week, set up a schedule that allows each campaign team to carry out their plans. This might include putting up posters, delivering a short speech, and handing out campaign literature.

TEACHING OPTIONS

You may be able to locate video tapes of candidates and their campaigns. Play short sections of such videos, then stop the film to discuss what is happening. Encourage a discussion on how students can apply what they observed to their own campaigns.

Assign one team to carry out the election process, that is, setting up ballot boxes, helping voters, totaling votes, and posting final results. Other students can plan the swearing-in ceremonies.

If possible, keep a photographic record of the campaign either with a still camera or a video recorder. You can then use this record as the basis of a quick review of the election process.


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