2004 Learning Strategies
Learning Strategy 6
Jeffrey Avery (NU), Michael Beetham (ON), Wendy Hughes (ON), Laura Ann Noye (PE), Derek Rankin (AB), Sandra Shepherd (NL), Ellen Smiley (QC), Janice Wycherley (BC), Darrell Yetman (NL)
Grades 4 to 6 (Primary cycles 2 and 3 in Quebec)
To allow students to examine different perspectives on an issue, and to promote critical thinking.
To promote citizenship by giving students the opportunity to voice opinions on opposite sides of an issue. This activity would be a good learning experience to begin a unit of study on government or citizenship.
Students will gain:
- Knowledge of key concepts about citizenship
Students will develop:
- Skills of inquiry and critical thinking
- Presentation skills
- Collaborative and cooperative learning skills
Students will cultivate:
- Respect and appreciation for Canadian Democracy, Rights and Freedoms
- Curiosity and interest in studying citizenship issues
- Critical capacity for inquiry and reflection
- Reflection on personal sense of participatory citizenship
- Tolerance for others' points of view
- Language Arts: Reading, Writing, Oral and Visual Communication
- Technology: Computer Research Skills
- Math: Data Collection
- The Arts
- Read Westlandia by Paul Fleishman or another book related to citizenship, democracy or social responsibility. Discuss observations, connections, questions and surprises.
- Take away a class privilege for a day (for example: chair, drinking water, voice). Debrief at the end of the school day. Discuss rights and privileges.
- Divide students into 5 or 6 small groups
- Distribute discussion questions
- Curfews in your neighbourhood
- Usage of electronics in the classroom
- Wearing of hats in the classroom
- Use of skateboards in the schoolyard
- Wearing of bike helmets
- Lowering of voting age
- School uniforms
These topics can be posed as statements or questions.
- Assign students to ‘pro' or ‘con' positions on questions
- Distribute student work sheets
- Allow 30 minute group discussion on question
- Ask students to come to a conclusion in their group after their discussion
Ask students to present their conclusions to the rest of the class.
Identify an issue that they would like to act on; a change they would like to make at the school or community level.
- Students survey other classes about their views and graph results
- Students make posters that represent their views
- Students write persuasive letters to argue their point of view
- Students conduct interviews with family or community members
- Students do research on Canadian government or a current government issue
- Students debate an issue
- Home/School Connection: Students discuss an issue with their families
Sample Social Studies Discussion Student Work Sheet
Social Studies Discussion
Should the voting age be lowered?
Yes | Reasons | No
* The ideas and opinions expressed in the Learning Strategies belong to their authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the Library of Parliament. The Library of Parliament does not edit the Learning Strategies for content accuracy or currency of information.