How To Teach Kids About Civics To Make Better Citizens Later
After one of the craziest election seasons in recent memory, it has become apparent how little people know about how their own government works. And for a democracy to function at its best, the citizens need to learn. When people don’t understand how it works, cynicism and distrust of the system can set in and we end up with politicians that prey on our ignorance.
The earlier we start the process the better. If kids grow up understanding the role of government, then they will be ideal citizens that take an active part in their democracy. They may even become politicians themselves and try to solve the problems that people like them are having.
It can be dry and boring for kids to study civics, however. So, this article is here to help you figure out how to teach kids about civics so they can be better citizens in the future.
Make a game out of it
If you are a teacher yourself, then you certainly understand how to make a game out of ordinary and dry subjects to inject some excitement. There are plenty of teacher resources that do the same with many different subjects.
A good start is role playing that will help to illustrate the problems that people face and the role government can play in it. A good place to start is by having somebody pretend to be a lawyer and make a case for a client. This can help them understand the Bill of Rights and how it applies to people’s lives every day.
Another game that can be interesting and fun at the same time is to understand how gerrymandering works. Kids can be assigned the task of dividing up congressional districts in a way that they think is fair and makes the most sense. Then they can compare how the districts are actually divided to illustrate how unfair it can be when politicians pick their voters instead of voters picking their politicians.
Set up your own government
One of the ways that kids love to learn the most about how government works is to run a simulation. Let them actually create their own government. First, make sure that you teach them the basics about the branches of government and what their roles are. Then highlight how the Constitution guarantees its citizens certain rights.
Then the fun begins when you have people run for different offices and the students have an election. The election season will allow them to put themselves out there and clarify a platform. Once the election is over they have to pass laws and possibly even present cases to the Supreme Court. Kids learn by doing so this is not only a lot of fun, but it is also a very effective tool.
Talk about current issues
Once they have a solid understanding of how a democracy works, then they should be able to form some opinions about the state of the government and democracy at the moment.
They should be learning about what politicians are saying and doing to solve problems, or in some cases, create them.