In this activity, students talk about the 2012 election and President Obama's statement in his acceptance speech that "democracy does not end with our vote." Students then consider the issues that are most important to them, research the issues, and decide on action steps they can take as citizens to address the issue. If there is time in your class, support students in an ongoing project.
- Were students watching or listening to the election returns?
- What thoughts and observations do they have about it?
- How did they feel about the way the election results were reported?
- What do they know about the results of the election - not just for president, but for Congress? How about ballot initiatives?
- How do they feel about the results? Are they happy? Disappointed? Why?
(For a full election results, see the New York Times.)
- What do you think Obama means by this statement? Do you agree with it?
- Now that Obama has been reelected, do we citizens have a continuing role to play? If so, what is it?
- taxes for the wealthy and middle class
- immigration reform
- unemployment and the lack of jobs for people who need them
- the war in Afghanistan
- the budget deficit
- global warming - how to reduce it and how to address the effects of it
- marriage equality for gays and lesbians
- election reform and corporate influence over elections
Is there any agreement in the class on the most important issue or issues? Work toward either a class consensus or have students choose two or three issues.
For the chosen issue or issues, ask students:
- What do we know about this issue?
- What do we think should be done or changed?
- What do we need to find out about this issue if we are going to figure out how to address it?
Work with students to create a list of questions that need answering. Assign students to research these questions for homework. Questions might be about both the issue itself, and the range of proposals for addressing it.
In the following day's class, have students share the information they have learned, and prompt them to do further research if necessary - including perhaps research to get a broader list of policy options.
Then work with students to come up with immediate action steps. If there is time, support students in an ongoing active citizenship project.