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Elementary - PBL Cats vs Dogs


Total Posts: 2

Joined 2020-04-20


Serving Elementary grades 1-5. We explored what goes into a good, honest campaign. Kids were asked what they knew about elections, what interested them, what roles needed to happen to have an election and why we have elections. They were asked which makes the best pet and why. We offered a cats vs dogs election. Kids were assigned roles as campaign workers in either the Dog party or the Cat party. We approached this from the standing that they were “hired” (assigned) to one or the other and had a job to do, but their opinion was not assigned. They could vote for whichever they wanted to in the end. We encouraged them to “work” for their campaign manager, researching public perception, thinking about how that could be approached in their election platform, researching animal facts, making slogans, support buttons, and campaign posters, etc. Some kids were researchers, some were artists, some were writers or speech makers, some were actors in the commercials. Both groups got to present to the other. We made a Fb poll on our Fb page and posted some of the kids’ materials there. Anyone who could access the page could vote. We publicized in our newsletter and notes home. Kids from the regular school day could see our kids’ handiwork, especially the huge refrigerator box with a curtain where the program kids would cast their vote. The kids got to vote their own vote, regardless of their assigned campaign, and we had a party celebrating the “winner” and all the hard work we all did. Along all of this, as guides by the side, we encouraged looking at statistics, the math of percentages, the impact that animals have on people and the community, historical animal heroes, the pertinents that go into an honest campaign, how to work well with others who disagree/holding an opinion without being ugly, employability skills in that aspect, etc. It was great!!! Our kids, families, school kids, teachers, and community friends wondered who was going to win. Although we guided the flow and timeline, the kids came up with their own research and campaign projects. Again, this was grades 1-5 and took place over approximately 2 weeks of 45-minute enrichment times. Our challenge was getting things done in time, but we took that on as a talking point about how sometimes work quality goes down when we lose focus, and that can possibly affect the outcome of our cause since voting has a lot to do with what people are influenced by. We tied this into our recent struggles with getting homework done during the given time. A win-win. smile  Our missing component was gaining a structured assessment process, which I see clearly as we’ve been progressing through this webinar series. The project itself was a kind of portfolio along the way, a visual for how well we were sticking to the goals we had agreed upon as necessary components for our election, but we needed to be clearer about our objectives. Our kids learned a ton and so did we! (PS - Dogs won.)