Secondary Lessons

Title: Democracy and Civic Action

Summary: In this lesson, students explore what democracy means and what the implications are for them as members of a democracy. They consider their own definition of democracy and those of their peers, before interpreting and analyzing key democratic principles. In the culminating activity, they consider the political actions of individuals and groups, which can strengthen democracy.

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Title: Universal Suffrage

Summary: In this lesson, students reflect on democratic rights in Canada, as well as the importance of equality, political tolerance and citizen participation in a democracy. After reviewing an overview of history of voting rights in Canada, students form groups to investigate the actions of individuals and groups that contributed to universal suffrage and improved accessibility to voting. In the culminating discussion, students have the option of assessing the most important turning point in the evolution of voting rights in Canada or articulating why equality is essential in democracy.

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Title: Government in Canada

Summary: In this lesson, students compare the federal, provincial and municipal levels of government, including leadership roles, elected officials and division of responsibilities. For each level of government, students will identify issues or areas of responsibility and explain how it affects their life. Afterwards, students reflect on why is important to know the division of responsibilities among different levels of government and their elected representatives.

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Title: Municipalities

Summary: In this lesson, students start by taking turns learning from one another about their municipality, sharing their information using a Give One-Get One approach. After learning about municipalities in Ontario more generally, students complete a scavenger hunt about their school’s municipality. Students will identify an issue they believe is most pressing in the community and complete a case study, where they research the facts and examine opposing viewpoints. In the consolidation activity, they will identify and assess potential actions that could be taken by the municipal government and/or citizens to address the issue.

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Title: Municipal Elections

Summary: In this lesson, students will survey friends and family, and exchange ideas with their peers about which issues are most pressing in their community. After reviewing the concept of political significance, students will establish criteria to evaluate their list of community issues. Students will become acquainted with the municipal election process and their council composition before researching the candidates. In groups, students will collect information about or from their selected candidate. Students will consolidate their learning by reflecting on which issues are most important to them and which candidate(s) most align with their views.

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Title: School Trustees

Summary: In this lesson, students will explore and debate a position paper put forth by the Ontario Student Trustees’ Association (OSTA) using a Both Sides Now approach. Students will discuss the role of school board trustees, and research the composition of their local school board. In groups, students will create a profile for an ideal school board trustee, before researching and assessing the candidates running for election. In the consolidation activity, students reflect on ways to improve school for students in the board, and articulate these views to the newly elected board of trustees, as well as their student trustee(s).

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Title: The Voting Process (Municipal Elections)

Summary: In this lesson, students explore their own opinions and those of others about participating in elections. Afterwards, students review the voting process in municipal and school board elections in Ontario and general statistics from the 2014 elections. Students respond to a voting survey before examining the barriers that some people face when participating in the electoral process. In the culminating activity, students rank a series of motivational barriers in order of significance or propose a solution or strategy to help overcome them.

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Title: Values, Beliefs & Perspectives

Summary: In this lesson, students watch an experiment about how our beliefs shape our perspectives during the ‘Minds On’ activity. They review the concept of a civic issue and the factors that shape one’s political perspective. Afterwards, students participate in a political spectrum activity to develop a sense of their civic self-image and better understand how beliefs and values influence opinions and perspectives. In the ‘Consolidation’ activity, students reflect on why it is important to respect others’ perspectives and opinions.

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Title: The Political Spectrum

Summary: In this lesson, students use the political inquiry process and the concepts of political thinking when reflecting on civic issues and ways to address them. In the ‘Minds On’ activity, students consider different perspectives on the minimum wage debate. Afterwards, students investigate their political leanings by answering a political spectrum quiz, reviewing the associated terms and applying their understanding. In the ‘Consolidation’ activity, students reflect on the aspects of their personal identity that affect their political orientation.

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Title: Governance and Democracy

Summary: In this lesson, students analyze leadership styles and decision-making processes by participating in a space survival exercise. In groups, students communicate their opinions and consider others’ opinions, while reflecting on the collaborative process and power dynamics. Afterwards, students discuss government types around the world and how they differ with respect to decision-making processes and citizen rights and freedoms.

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