Students Receive Hands-on Election Experience Voting

Avondale School District Students have Hands-on Election Experience Voting and Campaigning

Though the dust has settled on this election year, students at R. Grant Graham Elementary in the Avondale School District won’t soon forget their experience as candidates for the position of “Best President Ever”.  Part of a fourth grade research project, students were assigned a past U.S. President to learn about, write about and speak as. Following weeks of research, students wrote a persuasive speech in the first person and delivered their speech to their fourth grade classmates during a process similar to a Primary election. The Primary named the top three candidates to run for “Best President Ever”, as Harry S. Truman (student Palak Yadav), Abraham Lincoln (student Riley Axe), and George W. Bush (student Madison Rodgers). With the announcement of the Primary wins, each candidate selected a Vice President, a Campaign Manager, a Press Secretary, and a Speech Writer and as a team, they created a school-wide campaign to attract voters in Kindergarten through fifth grade.

R. Grant Graham Elementary students as Abraham Lincoln and his campaign team

R. Grant Graham Elementary students as Abraham Lincoln and his campaign team

Delivering their campaign speeches and fielding questions about their assigned past presidents, the student candidates made their way around the school for weeks, stumping for votes. The student body of voters learned about the Electoral College and how the popular vote can differ from electoral votes as well as campaign and precinct rules. All of the students in the school also registered to vote. “The lesson was designed to teach the students the election process from beginning to end while incorporating reading, research, writing and public speaking,” said R. Grant Graham Elementary teacher Gary Novak who developed the project-based lesson and oversees the logistics of the school-wide campaign and election. “The students are engaged from start to finish, whether they are a candidate, on a campaign team, listening to speeches and choosing who to vote for, or working at the precinct it’s really government come to life for them.”

On the day of the school-wide election – one day prior to the national Election Day – the candidates were on hand to answer questions from voters in an effort to garner last minute “undecideds”. They shared background information and fun facts and explained why their candidate should be voted in as the “Best President Ever”. Fourth-grader, Riley Axe, who ran as Abraham Lincoln made her case based on the type of person she felt Lincoln was. “Abraham Lincoln was the most honest President we have ever had and that is the most important thing for the President of the United States to be,” she said. Riley went on to win the election as the student body proclaimed Abraham Lincoln to be the “Best President Ever”.

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