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Who Wants To Be A Politician?

March 4, 2012

One of the challenges of teaching students about politics, democracy and elections is that they are not old enough to vote. If you can’t vote yet, why would you be interested in learning about voting?

Our response is to find a real election students can take part in. When I taught in Lewisham this was elections for the Young Mayor of Lewisham, and now I’m in Bexley I found out that the borough holds annual elections for the Bexley Youth Council. Learning about democracy and elections is suddenly meaningful and engaging for students when they know they have a real elections to take part in.

We put together a three lesson project – Who Wants To Be a Politician? – which enables students to:

  1. understand the different levels of government (local, London, national) and what they are responsible for
  2. develop the skills of political campaigning
  3. understand how laws are made through a debate in the ‘House of Commons’

Once we had done this, we invited students to put themselves forward as candidates. We asked each of the candidates to make a 30 sec manifesto video, and then showed this to all the other students so they could decide who to vote for on election day. Bexley Youth Service then came in to school to run the election, and we now have five students who are proud members of Bexley Youth Council!

Here are the resources we created:

Lesson Plans

Lesson 1 PowerPoint

Democracy Bingo!

My Manifesto

Treasure Hunt

YM4LLessonPack[2]

Lesson 2 PowerPoint

Election Pack

Leaflet Template

Arguments AGAINST votes @ 16

Arguments FOR votes @ 16

Preparing to Debate

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