What better way to learn the intricate details of our United States election process than to hold a grade-level Presidential election?
Nearing the conclusion of their government unit, and after examining the Executive, Legislative and Judicial branches, students in grade 3 decided to take matters into their own hands and conduct a Presidential election of their own.
All interested parties, over half of the students in the grade, met to explore the requirements to become a presidential candidate. Each contender was asked to design and create a prototype demonstrating one of the Mount Vernon Norms, which the remainder of the class would vote on anonymously. Using cardboard, pipe cleaners, small pieces of wood, popsicle sticks and other materials, students created visual representations of Assume the Best, Fail Up, Have Fun, Ask Questions and Share the Well.
The six students with the most votes were paired up as joint-ticket candidates for President and Vice President. The rest of the grade was split into three equal groups to campaign for their respective candidates. Campaign slogans were created, signage posted, “I Voted” stickers designed, and voting booths built.
After a brief campaign period, each candidate gave his or her speech to students in Kindergarten through fourth grade, resulting in cheers and applause.
The candidates and their election platforms:
Anna Charlotte (Keep Cool with AC) Toole and Colin Minogue
- 100th day of school non-uniform
- More time on Frontier
- Extra reading time at the end of the day Monday, Wednesday, Friday
Grayson Rogers and Lara (May the Forst Be With You) Forst
- 10 more minutes of recess each week
- Non-uniform Fridays earned with good behavior (Monday through Thursday)
- 1 hour every 2 weeks to explore curiosities or spend more time in connections
Sage Allen and MaryEllen Reagin
- Spirit Days across grade levels
- Longer recess
On Election Day, the students created an election center in studio(i), complete with private booths and voting consoles. All Lower School students and faculty were invited to vote, receiving an “I Voted” sticker upon their exit.
Third grade teacher Emily Trenney shares, “This is one of my favorite third grade experiences. Third graders are just ten years away from legally being able to vote, so this is a great introduction. I love how every third grade student is involved in the process. Each student is placed on a campaign committee and they work together to write the speeches for their candidates, come up with memorable slogans, create posters, and tell others about their candidate. All students had the opportunity to interview K-4 students and teachers, and find out what students like, wish and wonder about their school. This gave the committees the ideas for their platforms. It’s just an all around fantastic experience for students to have at a young age.”
Third grader Scarlett McCarthy says of her experience, “I think this was a really fair way to find the best person for the job. You have to go through so many steps to make sure!”
Congratulations to President Lara Forst and Vice President Grayson Rogers for their win!
President Forst says, “I guess it’s not about who you know – it’s the speech that counts – and the change you can make.”