Mason Students' Civics Lessons Even More Important in 2016 Election
Posted on 10/25/2016
How do we teach civics in what seems like a remarkably uncivil Presidential election? Mason City Schools social studies teachers have been tackling the 2016 election challenges with an eye towards engaging the next generation of leaders.
"In order for American democracy to survive we need an informed, engaged citizenry, and engendering a reverence and passion for the individual and collective responsibilities of maintaining a healthy democracy are paramount in all of our American Government classrooms. Our students know that democracy is not a spectator sport," says Mason High School AP Government teacher Maria Mueller. "Starting the school year not long after the major party national conventions this summer, students were very curious and somewhat confused about how individuals are selected to represent their party, particularly with polls indicating potential voters were unhappy with the nominees. Helping students understand the processes that resulted in these particular major party nominees for President can prepare them for the many ways in which they can engage in our democratic processes to impact the outcomes."
Every student at Mason Middle School took part in a National Mock Election on October 20 and 21 during social studies classes. Students used a state-of-the art online voting system when participating in the mock election program sponsored by the Youth Leadership Initiative (YLI), a national civic education program based at the University of Virginia Center for Politics. Approximately one million students are expected to vote nationwide during the two-week voting period from October 17-28. The YLI Mock Election is the largest secure, student-only online mock election in the nation.
Students voted electronically on their Chromebooks, but just as in the real election it is a secret ballot--there is no connection between student names and their voting selections.
"We have spent several weeks learning about the principles of democracy that have been handed down to us from Ancient Greece, so the mock election was the perfect learning opportunity. It helped students see first hand the role citizens have in shaping our democratic government," shared seventh grade World History Teacher Erin White.