On the heels of the U.S. Presidential election, 5th and 6th graders at The Miquon School entered their own contest to determine a campus favorite. Electing the national doughnut simulated the presidential race, complete with campaigning, balloting and calculating votes.
Simulation, an educational technique used in a variety of settings, presents students an opportunity to try out the real thing — so they can see it, touch it, become involved with it and ultimately, better understand it. In the case of the national doughnut, the election simulation presented a neutral canvas for children to learn how our country elects its president — without any of the politics attached to the process.
“This year, with the strong feelings, incivility and high tension around the 2016 race, it gave our children a chance to step away from the news media and engage with an election that was going to be pleasing no matter who won,” said teacher Lynn Hughes.
The children began in small groups discussing the concept of voting, and learning key vocabulary. Ballot prep provided a rich hands-on math experience involving probability and the statistical aspects of preference, as the children got acquainted with 6 different voting methods used worldwide.
An Electoral College was created based on classroom enrollments. Amid great excitement, students used Google Sheets to keep track of the popular and electoral votes as they were reported. Preference was very close in favor of French apple and raised sugar.
The simulated process suddenly became very much like the real election — children grappled first-hand with many of the issues raised nationally this fall. They felt the struggle to express opinions, they worried if they wasted their vote, they questioned the system.
“It was a broad educational experience — a blend of the real process, an exploration of voting methods and a chance to review the way we elect our President. In the end, we happily devoured the winner,” joked Hughes.