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Mock election is lesson in civics

Julian proudly displays his "I voted" sticker after casting his vote in the MRMS mock election.

It was a landslide. In a November 2 election, Marvin Ridge Middle School students chose Mitt Romney as the clear winner in the presidential election. We wondered if these student votes would be a predictor of November 6 election. 

The mock election at Marvin Ridge Middle School was part of a school-wide collaborative lesson on civics. The MRMS media center was transformed into a polling station and each student made their way through the media center on November 2 to vote for their favorite presidential candidate.

These students though, did not go to the polls blind. They were educated voters. In the week prior to the mock election, Social Studies department head, Tom Cunningham, worked with all grade levels and subject areas to make civics a focus of each class. Students spent time learning about the history of politics in the United States, the political parties, the political system, the Electoral College and the importance of voting.

“I think kids had a strong interest in the election this year. So much national attention was focused on North Carolina as a battle ground state. Students couldn’t help but notice the political commercials on television and came to class asking questions about what they heard and read,” said Tom Cunningham. Some students even had an opportunity to get answers from the politicians. Several local and national politicians visited Marvin Ridge to speak to students personally or record public service announcements which were viewed via our in-school cable system prior to voting.

“The humanistic aspect of politics appeals to middle school students. They are captivated by personalities and how they come across in speeches and advertisements,” said Tom Cunningham. Congressman, Jennifer Roberts, NC House of Representatives, D. Craig Horn, School Board Representative, Lynn Southern, Union County Chairman, John Steward, NC House of Representatives, Thom Tillis, and Union County Democratic Party Chairman, Ed McGuire all made appearances and spoke about civics issues that are meaningful to them.

The country did not follow the lead of the Marvin Ridge students on November 6 but students had an opportunity to experience an election. This was a lesson that extended beyond the social studies classroom. Math, science, language arts and related arts classes all focused on some part of the election process. “We hope that students came away with an appreciation of the political process and an understanding that their single vote when combined with many others can have an impact,” said principal, Scott Broome.

Written by: Brita Mann
Posted: Nov 13, 2012 by Brita Mann

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