Student Vote allows students to learn about Canadian democracy by taking part in a mock election. Through this initiative, students learn about the different parties in their local riding, while also walking through a realistic election process that will prepare them to cast their first official ballot when they read the age of maturity.
What is Student Vote?
“Coinciding with government elections, students learn about government and the electoral process, research the parties and platforms, discuss relevant issues and cast ballots for the official election candidates. The results are shared with the media for broadcast and publication following the closing of the official polls.”
Connections to the Global Competencies
Student vote connects to the Global Competencies in a number of ways. Teachers are free to make explicit or implicit connections to these when running the program in their building.
Critical Thinking & Problem Solving
Use a wide variety of digital tools and resources
While researching election issues, students should be directed to major party websites, party platforms, poll tracking sites, and vote compasses to help them determine what party most lines up with their beliefs.
Global Citizenship & Character
Gain an enhanced sense of personal and community responsibility
By participating in the Student Vote process, students will gain a deep understanding of the election process, and its importance of shaping their community.
Oral, written, and nonverbal communication skills
By watching election debates students will have the opportunity to analyze multiple forms of communication. They will be challenged to determine if the non-verbal communication from candidates matches up with their written, and verbal statements. Inferring why discrepancies may exist will allow them to further impact their own oral presentation skills in the future.
Collaboration & Leadership
Discover how to successfully navigate digital learning spaces
The myriad of digital sources students will engage with will prepare them to navigate their digital world when seeking specific information. They will come to see that some websites prioritize one piece of information, while others prioritize another. Through these experiences, students will learn to look beyond what is presented in the forefront, in order to navigate to the information they desire.
Creativity, Inquiry, & Entrepreneurship
Working on real-world problems
Students are challenged to look at some of the major political issues that are influencing the election. They can be asked to come up with their own solutions, before looking at party platforms to see if their ideas are represented or not.
The Four Steps to Success
Student Vote runs programs during all major elections. If there is an upcoming election in your area, you should direct yourself to the Student Vote website, and prepare to run the program in your building.
Registering your School
The first step in preparing to run Student Vote with your school is the visit the Registration Link. From there you will need to enter your Province, School Board, and School.
Next, you will be asked to fill out information about your school such as, have they ever run Student Vote before? Do you need voting screens, or do you have them from last time? How many ballots are required for your building? What grade level do you want resources for?
After you have registered you should prepare to receive the materials. These include the teaching tools, ballots, and voting screens. You will also be given a number of posters to place around your building.
One word of warning is that when the voting screens have been folded together they can take up a lot of space. Ensure you have a location to store the materials in once they arrive.
Engage with the Campaign
During this step, students should be encouraged to research the candidates in their riding. Cross-curricular lessons should also be run in order to ensure that students have a strong foundation as to the importance of voting, and the various platforms in your area.
Not only will students have the opportunity to vote on Election Day, many more will be required to run the election itself. This will grant them the opportunity to learn about the election from all sides of the process.
A wealth of resources have been created to support the Student Vote program, and they are available on the Civix.ca Website.
Though there are suggestions as to where these lessons should be placed, they can be dropped into a number of classrooms with little or no modification required.
Be sure to share your Student Vote stories and experiences in the comments below.