Current and Controversial Issues in #Election16

by Kelli Tufo, DuPage County Teacher Mentor

“Just because you do not take an interest in politics doesn't mean politics won't take an interest in you.”

Today, the candidates “take an interest in you” by bombarding Americans with their positions, slogans and logos using television, street signs, YouTube ads and, of course, social media.

However, our goal is to have students become - and stay - interested in local, state and national issues. I love teaching civics and government during presidential election years because students have a heightened interest in the campaign and awareness of the issues. As it result, it provides teachers a natural opportunity to implement or extend the proven teaching practice of Current and Controversial Issues Discussions.

The challenge is that our students have varying degrees of knowledge and interest about public policies. To begin engaging students with the issues and build interest you could have your students...
Lombard #CivicsIsBack workshop attendees identify the leading issues in the 2016 Election
To conduct a “deeper dive” into these important issues, consider having students participate in a role play or simulation. Formats such as a legislative committee hearing, town meeting, executive task force or blue ribbon committee all lend themselves to the discussion of both sides of current and controversial issues and increase student interaction. I have found a lot of success with a Presidential Campaign Simulation in which students create their own political party, platforms and propaganda in an effort to win votes.
Whatever vehicle you choose, there are many great resources to help students prepare for an issues role play or simulation:
Want more engaging ideas, lessons and instructional resources for teaching civics? Register for an upcoming Civic Education Workshop! #CivicsIsBack

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