Friday, October 5, 2012

political process for kids

i wrote about constitution day activities in a post a few weeks back and was inspired a few days ago to actually look for things i could do with diana regarding the upcoming presidential election.

i need to renew a subscription with brainpop; until then, we don't have access to the cool videos about primaries & caucuses and origins of political parties and presidential power.  at least we can get to the free video about the presidential election.

many things i come across in my searches don't fit what we need.  what diana has expressed an interest in is books and websites and experiences that don't belittle or ignore her because she is young and/or not yet of legal voting age.  she wants to engage her curious mind and explore information that is presented in an interesting and informative yet not insultingly juvenile manner.  i don't want to simply indoctrinate her with my political point of view; she experiences our family values on a daily basis through how we live our lives and treat ourselves and others, and she is always welcome to ask about what we think or to have us explain our reasoning.  i want to offer her opportunities to gain knowledge and perspective in an open, non-hostile environment that is relevant and understandable to her.

i did have the inspiration to see if pbs kids had anything to offer - and they do!  the democracy project is colorful and visually appealing to kids (but not in an insulting way), it's easily navigable for someone with her developing web-browsing skills, and it offers insights into the job of president, some functions of government, and moments in voting history.  yes, she can also print out posters and design her own cute bumper stickers, but she spent the majority of her time considering what tasks she would do if she were president for a day (discuss the creation of a new national park, attend the dedication ceremony for a war memorial, monitor a foreign conflict, meet with a head of state, and talk to astronauts), choosing which issues were most important to her right now (the environment and education - no surprise to me there), and asking me questions sparked by what she read, like "what is the presidential cabinet?"  i think it's a reasonable question, considering the answer starts off with, "well, honey, it's not a piece of furniture..."

kids discover magazine has a great infographic on the electoral college.  diana's finding it interesting why the states have different numbers of electoral votes.  i think this could become an engaging mathematical question as she tries to determine on her own which states could be particularly important to winning the election, or how many states do we need election results from in order to accurately predict a winner.

i'm curious to learn what sources other parents/teachers have successfully used or are considering using to expose their kids to the election process.

No comments:

Post a Comment