Academy Curricular Exchange
Columbia Education Center
Social Studies



Fred W. Miller, Denver Academy, Denver, CO

THE VOTING GAME

Appropriate for grades 10-12.

OVERVIEW:  I developed this fun activity for use in my American
and World History classes.  It is designed to introduce the
student to voting patterns and how political parties are used for
social change.  It is flexible enough to use at any time during
the year.

PURPOSE:  Students will be able to classify political parties
between the radical-conservative range.  Students will identify
their interests with a political party.

OBJECTIVES:  The students will be able to:

 1.  Build a political vocabulary.

 2.  Describe political movements and their effect on social
     change.

ACTIVITIES:  Procedure:

 1.  Lecture, make clear the political options within a society.
     These options are; limited social change, moderate social
     change, radical social change.  These categories are
     displayed upon the chalkboard as:

          Radical     -     Liberal     -     Conservative
          (Left)                                (Right)
1st vote              |                 |                      
2nd vote              |                 |                      
3rd vote              |                 |                     

 2.  Introduce the "Sealed Envelope".  This is held by one of the
     students until the end of the game.  It contains the logical
     predictions of the voting, as well as adding suspense to the
     game.

 3.  Explain the role-playing concept and pass out the role-
     playing cards.  No talking is allowed and no student can look
     at a card until told to do so.  A vote is taken after reading
     each card.

 4.  Compare the student voting with the sealed envelope.

 5.  Each student is required to make a statement explaining why
     they voted the way they did.

 6.  Homework.  Each student is required to write a one-page paper
     which discusses at least three factors which influence voting
     patterns.

ROLE-PLAYING CARDS:

Situation 1a:  You are the owner of a large business.  You take
three vacations a year, and you drive a Porsche.

2a.  The stock-market has just crashed and your business suffers.
     It looks like you will be only able to take two vacations
     this year.

2b.  The stock-market has crashed and wiped you out.  You have to
     sell all assets, your house, cars, and clothes.  You're
     forced to live on the street and beg food.

3a.  The stock-market has recovered and you have landed many new
     contracts.  You look forward to four vacations this year and
     another new car.

3b.  You finally get a job in a factory.  It isn't much but you
     can afford an apartment.

Situation 1a:  You are a business executive for a large company. 
You support your family in an upper-middle class style.  You own a
large house and two new cars.

2a.  The economy goes into a recession and you are laid off of
     your job.  You have a hard time getting another job because
     of your age and the economic climate.  Your savings are being
     spent quickly.

2b.  The economy goes into a recession and you are laid off of
     your job.  You are forced to sell your house and cars.  Your
     family moves into a cheap apartment and you are forced to
     feed your family with food stamps.  Time is running out.

3a.  You finally get a low-paying job with another company.  It
     isn't much but it pays the bills.

3b.  You finally get a job working in a hot dog stand.  It isn't
     much but it pays the bills.

Situation 1a:  You are a college student and you are having a
great time in college.  You go to a lot of parties but still
manage to "make the grade".

2a.  The economy goes into a depression and your dad loses his
     job.  You are forced to drop out of college and get a job to
     support your family.  The only job you can find is in a
     slaughter-house.

3a.  The economy recovers and you are able to return to school.
     You are a more serious student now.

3b.  Because of your limited education you are promoted to
     foreman.  You are given a raise and benefits.

Situation 1a:  You are a skid row bum.  You sleep in doorways and
panhandle money to buy wine.  (NOTE:  After the "bums" have voted,
erase their vote.  Bums don't vote.)

2a.  You panhandled enough for a bottle of wine.  The next day you
     decide to give up drinking, but you can't find a job because
     of the economy.



2b.  You panhandled enough for a bottle of wine.  The next day you
     decide not to be a bum and you get a job in a hot dog stand.
     It isn't much but it's a start.

3a.  You panhandle enough to buy a lottery ticket.  It turns out
     to be a winner and you are rich.

3b.  You have saved enough money to buy the hot dog stand.  You
     are now the owner of a small business.

RESOURCES/MATERIALS NEEDED:  No special resources are needed.

TYING IT ALL TOGETHER:  The role playing situations are easy to
make up.  Each student receives three situations.  In order to
demonstrate voting patterns it is essential that the second card
be a depressing one.  Your students voting will reflect this
trend.


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John Kurilecjmk@ofcn.org