IMPACT OF GOVERNMENT ON THE INDIVIDUAL
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Appropriate for grades 4-12.
Many students are not interested in, nor do they see any relevance in, the study of government. They see voting as a duty, and they, like many of their parents, see government as playing a relatively minor role in their daily lives.
The purpose to this activity, used during the early part of the school year in a required secondary government class, is to begin the process of helping students visualize the government of Canada as a very important part of their everyday existence --- a part which they can impact.
As a result of this activity, the students will:
1. List 15 ways in which government has an impact/influence on them, personally.
2. Identify, from their list, which are the result of national government, provincial government, and/or local government.
3. Write a brief paragraph on the topic, "Governmental Power --- Too Little or Too Much?"
This activity works best prior to any formal discussion on the importance of or purpose of government. Used at the beginning of a term, the activity can also help achieve several secondary objectives:
1. Help students relax by reducing "beginning of a new class" tension.
2. Help speed the process of developing a relationship with each student.
3. Begin to get a pattern of parental involvement in the learning process.
1. Near the end of the class period, and with no rationale, ask students to list as many activities as they can think of in which government plays no role.
Once the basic directions are given, the teacher's role is two-fold. First, the teacher should discourage idea sharing at this time. Opportunity for idea sharing will come later. Second, the teacher must encourage the students to be creative.
2. Just before the bell rings, direct the students to take their lists home and suggest they consult with their parents for further ideas. The list will be handed in the next day.
3. Give the students five minutes, at the beginning of the period the next day, to share ideas and add to personal lists.
4. Collect all lists and begin to share items without identifying the author. With each item, the students are encouraged to analyze whether or not government has an impact/influence on that item. This procedure will continue until the class discovers that government literally has an impact/influence on every aspect of an individuals existence.
5. Although the teacher should make no attempt to achieve closure at this time, students should be allowed to state their opinions concerning the amount of power government possesses. Such opinions should not be judged or criticized by either the teacher or follow classmates.
6. One of the roles of the teacher in this activity is to provide the information, if needed, concerning which level(s) of government are responsible for each item.
None are required, but use could be made of a wide variety of visuals to spark ideas, discussion, or reaction.
TYING IT ALL TOGETHER:
1. Return students' lists with no negative comments.
2. Design a brief, graded activity based on the three student objectives. This can also serve as an early opportunity to evaluate individual student writing abilities, as well as provide a grade which should be a positive one for most students.
3. Encourage all students to share the results of this activity with their parents/guardians. Appropriate for grades 7-12.
4. Use this activity to introduce the first unit or lesson.
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