Catalog of Lessons by Subject > Social Studies & Government > Relevance

Catalog of Lessons by Subject > Social Studies & Government > Relevance 2017-10-06T03:04:55+00:00
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The most inspiring classroom experience I have had was earlier this year in my Geography class, during a unit on the Arab world. What struck me about our discussion was the component of human geography and gender roles in the area. Focusing on a demographic female-to-male ratio and the evolving significance of female presence was one of the few opportunities I have had in school to indulge in international studies thus far. Our curriculum concentrates generally on what is seen as core education, or the basics. International studies are becoming increasingly important topics of discussion, especially for high school students. Concerning all girl education, we should further be studying international issues, as the role of women worldwide must be motivated. Though [school name] claims to educate "Women for the World," we do not delve deep enough into the world itself during school hours, solely looking inward for education. To successfully prepare girls for their position in the world, international education must be increased significantly, or [our school] will not live up to its slogan.
 
 
Our teacher had a unit where we conducted a model senate. We each chose a topic that we were interested in or passionate about and researched which state would actually elect a senator with our goals. We then took on the role as a senator from said state and drafted our legislation with the same sections and justification as an actual bill. They then went through a committee phase and a week or so later we held our senate in which we were able to try and get our legislation passed and come to a deeper understanding of how difficult and slow things can be in congress as well as how it really works. Paired with a class trip to Washington DC and spending time in the Senate gallery, this unit and this class in general prepared us to go out into the world as informed citizens, aware of how our government operates and able to make more informed decisions and votes as a result.
 
 
In the fall of 2008 during the lead-up to the U.S. Presidential election, I had my sixth-grade U.S. History students engage in an in-depth, month-long project researching the presidential candidates. The students spent time researching who all the candidates were, their political parties, and generally what each candidate believe in and what policies he or she supported.

Students next chose to be one of these candidates. They had to conduct detailed research using the Internet into their specific candidate including their biographical details as well as the major policy initiatives he or she supported.

With this research, students produced a PowerPoint presentation to relate to their classmates the highlights of their Candidate's personal, professional, and political lives.
 
 
This project required students to conduct research, work independently, summarize information, choose the most important details, and employ technology to present information effectively.

The students enjoyed the (guided) freedom to work at their own pace to research their candidates. They also enjoyed the freedom they were afforded to be creative in the construction of their PowerPoint presentations. Finally, many students shared stories of how they took their new learning about their candidates home to share with their parents. Student research prompted a number of political discussions around the dinner table. Similarly, many students related how much they enjoyed debating the candidates and issues with their parents. In fact, some students selected their candidates based solely on the fact that their parents supported someone else!

The last component of the project was for the students to prepare to participate in a debate with the other candidates about the issues pertinent in the 2008 Election. Each student had to prepare to debate three other candidates. Each two-person debate would focus on a different issue.

The students very much enjoyed the debate portion of the assignment and competing with their classmates.

In the end, I cast my vote for the candidate that I felt had "won" my vote by being informative and persuasive. The students were very motivated by the aspect of "winning" the assignment.