Elementary Lessons

Title: Lesson 1 — Rules and Government

Summary: In this lesson, students reflect on rules and laws in their community. Students review different decision‑making models and explore their strengths and limitations through dramatic presentations. Students discuss the purpose of government and review basic government types. By participating in a kinesthetic activity, students become familiar with key terms relating to government and government types. Afterwards, students reflect on the why we need government and what it means for them as citizens.

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Title: Lesson 2 — Government and Democracy

Summary: In this lesson, students will work in groups to explore options for leadership and governance in an exercise called Survivor Island. Afterwards, students will review the concept of government and parliamentary democracy, and investigate events from 1830-1849 that dramatically shifted our political system. In the culminating activity, students will imagine the ways in which a prime minister or premier can ensure they adhere to responsible government.

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Title: Lesson 3 — Politics

Summary: In this lesson, students explore different opinions and viewpoints in a mock schoolyard renovation project. They use their powers of persuasion to try and convince their classmates and the school board to agree with their renovation idea. Students are introduced to the concept of politics and the goals and actions of political parties. In the consolidation activity, they reflect on politics and different opinions and perspectives.

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Title: Lesson 4 — Rights and Responsibilities in a Democracy

Summary: In this lesson, students explore the rights they have at school as an entry point to the discussion of rights and freedoms in a democracy. Afterwards, students review the seven sections of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Through a scavenger hunt activity, students navigate the Charter itself and improve their understanding of its application. In the consolidation activity, students reflect on the responsibilities that go along with their rights.

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Title: Lesson 5 — Levels of Government

Summary: In this lesson, students first explore roles and responsibilities in their school community and then within the levels of government in Canada. Students reflect on all the ways the different levels of government affect their life and then analyze which level is most important to them. In the consolidation activity, students identify an issue that matters to them and write a letter to the most appropriate elected representative.

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Title: Lesson 6 — Political Parties

Summary: In this lesson, students are introduced to the concept of voting by moving around their classroom to express their viewpoint on specific issues. After reviewing the concept of political parties, students work in groups to research one of Ontario’s political parties. Each group prepares information about the party’s vision, leader and platform. In the culminating activity, students think critically about their personal criteria and decide what they liked most and least about the leaders and parties.

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Title: Lesson 7 — My Candidates

Summary: In this lesson, students consider the qualities they look for in their Member of Provincial Parliament. Students learn about how representatives are elected in provincial elections. Looking at Ontario electoral district maps, students will analyze the size of districts and representation, and take an in-depth exploration into their school’s district. Afterwards, students discuss which issues matter to them and develop questions they want to ask the candidates in collaboration with the peers. In the culminating activity, students reflect on what they like or dislike about the candidates.

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Title: Lesson 8 — Campaign Communications

Summary: In this lesson, students investigate the provincial election process in Ontario and how election campaigns work. As a class and within groups, students dissect and analyze various political party communications or advertisements. After reviewing each group’s work, students evaluate the strengths and limitations of each party’s campaign strategy and evaluate which party or candidate they support and why.

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Title: Lesson 9 — Voting Rights

Summary: In this lesson, students learn about the struggles some groups experienced in gaining the right to vote in Canada. Students create a visual timeline of events in history that shaped our voting rights today. They will reflect on and discuss how they feel about groups being excluded. Students also have an opportunity to discuss low voter turnout and consider reasons for the decline.

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Title: Lesson 10 — The Voting Process

Summary: In this lesson, your students review essential information about voting in provincial elections in Ontario. Afterwards, they practice voting and counting ballots through a mock vote. In the culminating activity, students demonstrate their knowledge of voting by creating an instructive pamphlet or poster, which can be shared with a parent, guardian or an adult they know, encouraging them to vote.

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