By Dan Murray, 20th Century U.S. History and Global Studies
The 8th Grade Global Studies classes conducted presidential mock-elections for their unit on North America. The focus was on studying and evaluating free and fair elections in the U.S. By examining past elections and learning what the election process is for the upcoming national elections, students tried to answer the questions, “Are elections in the U.S. free and fair?” and “What is the value of free and fair elections in a democracy?”
The 8th grade students were the administrators/election commission for the Upper School mock-elections for president. Upper School students were required to pre-register at specific precincts in order to vote. The 8th graders also polled the upper school prior to a history department mock-debate that featured Aaron Stevens as Mitt Romney and Anya Markowitz as Barack Obama.
Other highlights of the unit were researching the candidates, candidate platforms, and learning about the Electoral College. They watched a PBS documentary called Election Day, which examined voting irregularities in the 2004 presidential elections. Professor Lonna Atkeson, parent of 8th grader Will Cary, was a guest speaker and spoke about the differences of access versus fair/legal elections. Following the November 6th voting, the students counted and processed all the data from the registration, polling, and election and produced some impressive pie charts showing breakdowns of the results by class.