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Teach Them about their Country…

I’m so thankful to have a parent this year who works closely with a judge which has provided us a way to take an amazing field trip later this year. To prepare the students, I had them do some real world research. Each child had to survey 20 people about some government topics. Students had to record their research on tally charts and then graph the data. They could choose to graph the data on a bar graph or a circle graph. What you see pictured is the end result of one of my teams.

Students were required to ask the following questions, and then they could pick one question of their own.

*What are the three branches of government?

*How many stars are on the American flag?

*How many stripes are on the American flag?

Children picked questions such as: How many senators are there? Who was the first president? What do the stars stand for on the flag? and the like.

I told children they couldn’t survey immediate family members, but they could ask neighbors, boy scout leaders, sports team parents, church members, random people they called at businesses etc. I wanted the questioning to be as realistic as possible so that children got a true sampling of the public.

Before children called I had them write a phone blurb so that they knew what to say when they called. For their safety I insisted they not use any identifying information such as their first AND last name. I emphasized using manners such as please, thank you, and ending with a positive comment. Children were hung up on at times which gave them a great dose of reality. The real world teaches like no other experience. We discussed how to improve the rate of no hang ups by following the directions I had given.

Children grew on so many levels with this project. They had to practice their social skills to get their survey completed. They had to practice talking in a professional way to adults. Constructing a graph of real world data is not often an experience we give children. In addition, students had to decide if a circle graph or bar graph was better to represent their data. Since the posters they made were being hung in the hall, I encouraged them to write an attention-grabbing title to have a greater audience for their work.

With so much going on in our American government right now, this works nicely with current evens. I hope this idea spurs you to do a similar project with your students!


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