Ice Cream Video and Lesson Plans

Video Message

  • Some people are cynical about government.
  • There is an impression that democracy is messy and that in an environment where lawmakers bicker and disagree, nothing can be accomplished. 
  • Representative democracy may be messy, but it allows for diversity of ideas.
  • Diversity and different points of view lead to representative democracy and good legislation.

Goals

  • To identify everyday situations in which messy situations lead to good results.
  • To strengthen understanding that diversity of ideas leads to increased choices.
  • To develop empathy for and better understanding of issues of concern to specific constituency groups. 
  • To gain an understanding of effective procedures for working with elected officials.
  • To increase student understanding and appreciation of representative democracy in America.

Desired Impact

  • Favorable change in impressions of the political system held by the public.
  • Increased citizen knowledge, understanding, and appreciation of the political process will lead to reduced cynicism and increased participation in the political process.
     
activities

Activity #1

Activity #2

Activity #3

  • View and summarize the video
  • Develop analogies and metaphors to describe the political process and representative democracy  
  • Research and comparison of ways to communicate effectively with elected officials and/or authority figures.
  • Use E-Learning Modules from website of the Center on Congress, www.centeroncongress.org  
  • Identify issues of concern to class or community and communicate point of view at a meeting, assembly, or forum.

Suggested timeframe:

  • 1 Class Period

Suggested timeframe:

  • 1 Class Period

Suggested timeframe:

  • 2 Class Periods

Objectives

Objectives

Objectives

  • Develop analogies and metaphors to describe the political process and representative democracy
  • Students will research and compare procedures for communicating effectively with elected officials.
  • Given situations, students will express individual and group points of view.
  • Students will present points of view in a simulated or authentic setting.

 

  • Introduce lesson by asking if students think that things that were messy could be good. Brainstorm a list as a group and allow students to elaborate on each to build understanding of the concept.
  • Introduce the video and show to the group.
  • Discuss student impressions of the video message and summarize, verbally or in writing.
  • View the video again, and list the vocabulary presented. 
  • Work in small groups to develop analogies to government and things that were listed earlier in the lesson that were messy but could lead to good results. 
  • Have each group share their comparisons with the large group. 
  • Compose an essay to demonstrate understanding of the concepts presented in the lesson, elaborating on the analogies and metaphors developed.   

 

 

 

 

  • Introduce the activity by sharing the Democracy Kids website and/or E-Learning Modules related to communicating effectively with elected officials. 
  • Provide time for students to do the activities on the site. 
  • Discuss the lessons learned from the activities completed. 
  • Develop lists of ways compare effective and ineffective ways to communicate with elected officials.
  • Students role play methods illustrated in the lessons.
  • In closing, review the most effective procedures for communicating effectively with elected officials.

Extension:

  • Invite state legislators to speak to the class and give examples of effective and ineffective ways they have been approached by constituents. See America’s Legislators Back to School Program, www.ncsl.org/backtoschool

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Introduce activity by discussing a situation or an event in the news about which most of the students would have an opinion.

Examples:

    • School dress codes
    • Same-sex classes
    • Loss of School Programs due to funding cuts
    • The BP oil spill
  • As a group, identify the groups or individuals involved, and the point of view of each. Identify the government group with the authority to solve the problem. 
  • Divide group into teams.  Teams research assigned group/individualto compile information for “point of view”.
  • Groups prepare position statements .
  • Simulate a meeting at which each group presents their point of view to the “appropriate authority”.  
  • Debrief the lesson by asking individuals if their assigned groups represented their personal points of view. Allow time for each to elaborate on how it felt to verbalize a personal or opposing point of view. 
  • Ask if any of them changed their opinions based on the information presented by the groups.
  • Close the activity with a reiteration of the importance of diversity of ideas in America and in American government. 

Evaluation

Evaluation

Evaluation

  • Participation
  • Rubric for essay evaluation 
  • Participation/Group Participation Rubric
  • Rubric for evaluation.
  • Participation

Resources

Resources

Resources

  • Video “Ice Cream”
  • Activity Sheets
    • “Brainstorm” (p 1)
    •  “Am I missing something?” (p 2)
    • “Using Analogies for Comparisons” (p 3)
  • Essay Planner (p 4)
  • Rubric for essay evaluation
  • Center on Congress website: www.centeroncongress.org 
  • Activity Sheets
    • “Communicating with Elected    Officials” (p 5)
    • “Role-Playing” (p 6)
  • Group Participation Rubric for evaluation. (Rubric Bank)

 

  • “Events in the News” Activity Sheet (p.7)
  • “Everything depends on your Point of View!” Activity Sheet (p 8-9)
  • “Reflecting on the Learning” Activity Sheet (p 10)
  • Group Participation Rubric for Evaluation (Rubric Bank)

 

 

Activity #4

Activity #5

  • Develop a product to express point of view.

     

  • Simulated or real town meeting sponsored by students to support point of view of constituency groups.

Suggested timeframe:

  • 2-3 Class Periods

Suggested timeframe:

  • Multiple Class Periods 

Objectives

Objectives

  • The student will build and defend a case for support of a point of view and develop a product to apprise others of supporting information.
  • The student will select a group/segment of the population and analyze legislative issues that would be of concern for that population.
  • The student will develop a presentation to present the position of the chosen group to a local member of the legislature or Congress. 

Procedure

Procedure

Day 1:

  • Introduce the lesson by sharing letters to the editor that have appeared in the local newspaper for a period of time. 
  • Lead a discussion during which students discuss the issues addressed in the paper and sort letters that are in reference to the same issues. Date the letters to show the sequence of comments made by readers. 
  • Allow students to express individual opinions about each issue reflected in the letters. 
  • Brainstorm additional issues about which the students have strong opinions. 
  • Compile a list of ways people express their points of view. 
    • Letters to the editor,
    • Petitions,
    • Bumper stickers,
    • Pamphlets, etc.

Day 1-2:

  • Have each student select an issue to support and develop a product or mechanism by which they will express their point of view and attempt to gain additional support. 
  • Allow sufficient time for students to research chosen topics and compile products. 
  • Students share products with the group.

Extension:

  • Provide the opportunity for students to present their case or submit their information to an authentic audience.

 

 

 

Pacing to be determined by teacher:

  • Introduce the activity by informing the students that their legislator, congressman, or the congressman’s local representative will be visiting the class on a given date. Discuss the procedures followed in town meetings. 
  • Inform the students that they will work in small groups to prepare presentations that represent the interests of a chosen group for the meeting. 
  • As a group, establish criteria for a rubric by which individual and group participation will be evaluated.
  • Students identify groups to be represented at the meeting. Ex: 
    • 18-24 year olds
    • Senior Citizens
    • Fishermen
    • Teachers
    • College Students
    • High School Students
    • Unemployed
    • Homeless
    • Gifted Students
    • Other
  • Students form teams by submitting 1st, 2nd, and 3rd choices for groups to represent.
  • Compile groups to conduct interviews and research. Assist the students in gaining access to the group chosen, if possible. 
  • Students meet with representatives of assigned groups to determine issues to be addressed in the town meeting. 
  • Invite individuals interviewed and members of the press to be present for the town meeting.
  • Students practice and review appropriate dress and behavior for the event.
  • Hold event.
  • Students reflect on the value and quality of individual and group participation and results of the town meeting in an essay.
  • Evaluate using student generated rubric.  

Evaluation:

Evaluation:

  • Rubrics
  • Participation
  • Student generated rubric for evaluation of product developed and participation.
  • Peer & Self Evaluation

Resources:

Resources:

  • 1-2 weeks of local newspapers
  • Internet access
  • Reference materials
  • “Product Contract” (p 11)
  • Rubric for product evaluation (Rubric Bank)
  • Community members to be interviewed
  • Resource speakers
  • Internet access
  • Reference materials
  • Presentation Planning Guide for setting goals and objectives, team planning (p 12-16)
  • Student generated rubric for evaluation

 

 

Developed by Carol Western Paola, Mississippi Project Citizen Co-Coordinator, for Representative Democracy in America: Voices of the People, a national project sponsored by the Alliance for Representative Democracy, a partnership of the Center for Civic Education, the Center on Congress at Indiana University and the National Conference of State Legislatures' Trust for Representative Democracy. 

Additional Resources

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Lesson Worksheets | PDFs

Related Sites