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1. Assembly Presentation: What is Politics? Why are so many people not interested in it and why is this worrying?
This presentation is given to the entire group and is designed to get them thinking about why politics is so important. It outlines how the study unit will focus on helping students determine whether they are left- or right-wing and thereby help them make sense of some of the more obvious differences between the main political parties.
2. Computer Simulation: Are you Left- or Right-Wing?
This worksheet accompanies the computer simulation and guides students through a series of questions and asks students to choose the point of view they agree with most. At the end of the simulation the computer provides them with a breakdown of how far their decisions were Left- or Right-wing. In addition factual questions are asked along the way and the teacher can print off a full breakdown of the data at the end of the lesson ready for analysis in the next session.
3. Assembly Presentation: Reflection on the Results
This assembly encourages students to reflect on what it actually means to be Left- or Right-Wing, and the difficulties of determining exactly 'how far' you can describe yourself as Left- or Right-Wing given the fact that some policy areas are of far more concern to some people than others.
4. Extension Task: Should the computer simulation provide a 'middle way' option?
This extension task provides two points of view from different (real!) teachers. One of them argues that the computer simulation is too simplistic in its provision of only two possible options for each policy area (Left and Right). The other teacher argues that the simulation is actually an accurate (and even more flexible) representation of real-life politics. Students should debate as a group which point of view they agree with most.
5. Design your 'ideal state'
In this lesson, students take the ideas and principles they are now familiar with and use these to design an 'ideal state' by considering such things as the ideal age for voting, the benefits and disadvantages of having a monarchy, and so on. Plenty of room here for group work and spirited debate!
6. Extremist political ideologies
This worksheet questionnaire develops from the earlier work on Left- and Right-Wing ideologies by getting students familiar with Fascist and Communist views on the same policy areas. There is a completed teacher version available.
7. Voting Systems: Which is the most truly democratic?
This stand-alone assembly resource was something I put together when the school was preparing to hold student council elections. It highlights some of the essential problems with the whole nature of democracy and how votes should be interpreted.
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Events (100 years ago today): 1919 – Mustafa Kemal Atatürk lands at Samsun on the Anatolian Black Sea coast, initiating what is later termed the Turkish War of Independence.
Births (100 years ago today): 1919 – Georgie Auld, Canadian-American saxophonist, clarinet player, and bandleader (d. 1990)
Deaths (700 years ago today): 1319 – Louis, Count of Évreux (b. 1276)
Deaths (50 years ago today): 1969 – Coleman Hawkins, American saxophonist and clarinet player (b. 1901)
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