Saturday, October 27, 2012

The Candy Campaign - Election Explorations!

We have been conducting a campaign in my classroom this month. Not as "presidential" as the one going on in the real world, but in many ways, just as "real world" as that one is. My second graders are in the process of electing a class candy and the excitement and passion for the two "candydates" is easy to see!
student presenting a campaign display for his candy candidate
The Big Presentation to Guest Educators

Simulations are so powerful in teaching concepts! When I happen upon one that truly works, I have a hard time resisting the urge to jump in with both feet. Usually, I give in and just jump because the benefits are wonderful!

I realized what I had during a class discussion just before our primary election.

Some students in the Chocolate Kingdom crowd were excited about their possible candydate and quickly gaining support of other members because of their enthusiasm. The problem was that their candydate was a chocolate bunny. They finally realized that although the chocolate bunny was their very favorite, it would be impossible for me to find chocolate bunnies for them in October if it won the general election. I was proud of them when they pulled the name from the primary election on their own.

Some students were concerned about the possibility that someone might cheat and the wrong candydate would be chosen for their candy crowd (political party) during the primary election or during the general election. That led to a discussion of voter fraud in real elections, new regulations and rules, and a promise from me that fraud would be punishable by a trip to the office. It also led to some student generated regulations such as: Names will be checked off of a list when someone voted and people supporting each candydate will be present during the counting of the votes. Wow! Real world? I think so!

Issues that have risen from this activity:
  • viability of a candidate (above)
  • a list of voter requirements - 7 or older and on the class list
  • choosing the best candidate 
  • voter fraud (above)
  • differing opinions among friends
  • outspoken vs. quiet voters (who are happy for secret ballots)
  • absentee votes and advanced votes - from a student with an appointment on "election day"
  • behaviors that attract and repel undecided voters

It has been so neat to watch the activity mirror real life and the engagement that comes from that type of experience. The Chocolate Kingdom crowd has chosen Kit Kat as their candydate and the Gummies crowd are fully behind Skittles as their candydate. Only time will tell... Election results will be announced November 1st!

The basic plan and lots more pictures are in my latest post at (click on the following link). The Candy Campaign

Any thoughts?

1 comment:

  1. I really enjoy this idea! It gets the students involved in the election, yet uses terminology that they can comprehend. I may try to implement a political lesson in a similar manner for my Spanish students! Thanks for the great idea