My kids have been learning about Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome. One reason (I would assume) they do that is because of its ties to our civic roots. I have been covering the standards on democracy and representative government during these units.
I wanted to have a hands on lesson on democracy that students as young as the ones I teach could get their minds around. So, we talked about how the word democracy is really two Greek words (demos: people kratos: rule). We talked about how it was a system where each person had an equal vote and equal role in lawmaking. All of my students agreed it was fair (you see even third graders recognize that). Although, I am pretty sure they would agree that communism was much more fair than capitalism if I asked them...
I told them they would use democracy to make one law we would all follow in the classroom for a day. It could be a funny or serious.
"What is it called when you make the laws?" one astute observer asked me.
"It's a dictatorship, and I am your dictator--kind of like your very powerful king," I answered fully aware that he would have no clue what I meant.
"You would be a queen," he reminded me.
"So true, thank you. Now, each of your tables must all agree on two laws to enter in the vote."
So, all of the table groups proposed two "laws". Then, the kids voted.
The law they agreed on yesterday was that you must do a dance to go to the bathroom. It was hysterical today.
When they lined up for recess, I said, "Wait a second. Who here is going to use the bathroom during recess?" All of them were, so I turned on some music and they danced.
Tomorrow we'll use a representative government to make one law. I can't wait to see what they come up with this time!