Democracy in the Classroom
Lesson Plan Reference
Grade Level 6-12
Difficulty Level 3 (Developing to Mastery)
Type of Assignment Individual or Group
For this activity, students will take part in a classroom democracy that allows each student an opportunity to voice their opinions on the world that they live in. This activity can serve as an introduction to the unit as it allows them to participate in a democratic process without necessarily using the complex topics and vocabulary that will be introduced further on. By starting the unit with this activity, teachers will be able to create a foundation of understanding that they can refer back to throughout the unit. Students in this activity will be required to create a spider map that includes four issues, topics, or problems in our society and their proposed ideas or solutions to the issue, topic, or problem.
This activity will allow students to simulate being an active citizen in a democracy. With the guidance of their teacher, students will choose four issues, topics, or problems in our society today and visualize their perspective. Below are a list of topics or questions that teachers can either allow students to choose from or specifically assign certain questions to the class, groups, or individual students. Teachers could also allow students to choose their own topic or idea that they wish to change in the classroom, school, town, city, state, or even country!
Example Guiding Questions For Activity
- How should the desks be arranged in the classroom?
- What should the homework policy look like?
- What should testing procedures be?
- What classes would you like to add to the schedule?
- What should the cell phone policy look like?
- What classes should we have to take?
- What should the driving age of the state be?
- Who should be able to own a gun in the state?
- Should our state allow...(gambling, fireworks, marijuana...)?
- Should the death penalty be legal?
- What should the voting age be?
- How should the government spend the taxes of the citizens?
Following this activity, students will be able to share their spider maps with the rest of their class. Teachers can formulate an activity that creates stations around their room where students can interact with the creators of each spider map and cast a vote or opinion on each issue. This activity will allow students to not only take part in a democratic process, but also be able to voice their opinions with their peers. Teachers can facilitate this activity by tallying the votes for each station and closing the activity with a summary of how the class voted. For a more advanced course, students can take this voting process to the next level by analyzing the demographics of each voter and describe the voting trends of each demographic.