The happy citizens of St. Ann School experienced Election Day with great fanfare! Red, white, and blue painted the hallways...mostly due to school uniforms...with posters for presidential candidates and ballot boxes lining their paths. After learning about the platforms of the Democrat and Republican parties, students familiarized themselves with the candidates. All of the global studies classes researched President Obama and Governor Romney before weighing their electoral options!
Civics and history played large roles in our study of the presidential election. First, students learned the responsibilities of candidates and the job requirements that would have to be met if they won. Next, we analyzed and critiqued campaigns, made campaign posters, and watched clips of the debates. Then, the Electoral College was tackled.
Using a map of St. Ann, we simulated the Electoral College by assigning each classroom a certain number of electoral votes according to class population. For every five students, classrooms were assigned one vote. The US Constitution says citizens should have one representative for every 35,000 people. Today, roughly 750,000 citizens are represented by one person. Wow! We prefer our system.
After mastering the Electoral College, we analyzed projection maps created by Karl Rove, Joe Trippi, and RealClearPolitics.com. Students used the information to create their own projection maps by coloring the states red or blue, and then calculating the predicted number of electoral votes won by each candidate. (The fifth and sixth graders colored maps of St. Ann to determine the electoral votes awarded by each classroom.)
The eighth graders evaluated samples of exit polls before designing an exit poll especially for St. Ann voters. Some of the questions included, "Was your vote influenced by your parents?" "Did you vote for your candidate based on his appearance?" And, "Did being Catholic influence your vote?"
Finally, we voted!
The results didn't exactly follow the pattern of the 50 states. Still, we are smarter, better informed, and more patriotic for performing our civic duty! We can't wait for 2016!