ROCHELLE — The eighth-grade students in Trish Rodeghero’s U.S. History class at St. Paul Lutheran School have spent the last three weeks working on an election simulation.
The students were first taught about political parties in the United States and then introduced to the three different class political parties (Pizza Party, Birthday Party, and Slumber Party), their platforms and their symbolic representation. Based on the party platforms, students had to affiliate themselves with one party by filling out a registration form. Once they registered with this party, they could not change through the course of the election.
The class then discussed the process of the Primary Election and how final candidates are chosen for each political party. Rodeghero then introduced the candidates for Pizza Party, Slumber Party and Birthday Party. The students were educated on the platforms that each candidate represented and students within each political party voted for the sole candidate to represent their political party.
At the “Political Party Convention”, the nominated candidate for each political party was introduced. Next, the class spent time talking about how the candidates spend a lot of time, money, and energy campaigning to the public.
The students then were put into their groups based on their political party registration. They spent time making campaign posters to represent the platform of their candidate. The students then worked on rally speeches to present to the students in kindergarten through seventh grade.
Debates were held within the classroom for a few days before heading out on “Rally Day”. On Rally Day, one delegate from each political party went to different classrooms to give their speech and convince the classes why their candidate is the best choice for president. They also debated in these classrooms with the other candidates.
The next few days were spent discussing the electoral college and the process that goes into the votes on election day. The eighth-grade class then took the class lists for each classroom in kindergarten through seventh grade and assigned them the appropriate number of electoral votes based on the number of students in their class ranging from our smallest class (sixth grade) getting only two electoral votes to the biggest class (fourth grade) getting nine electoral college votes.
On Tuesday, Nov. 3, the eighth-grade class held its school election with four different polling sites assigned. Voters were verified upon arrival that they were “citizens” of St. Paul. They then entered the polling site to cast their vote for president. They were then given an “I Voted” sticker as they exited the polling site.
Eighth-grade students will now tally the popular vote and figure out the electoral college votes to determine the next president. The party platforms included: Pizza Party (Dr. Red Pepper believes that the school cafeteria should serve pizza five days a week), Slumber Party (Beatrice Good believes that there should be a napping area where all students can go to sleep if they need it) and Birthday Party (Al Inline believes that on a student’s birthday, that student gets to make all the decisions for his or her class).