Lesson Name: Government Simulation
Course Code: CHV 201
Created By: Adrienne Chong, Mark Melnyk and David Butler
School: Markville Secondary School
Level: Grade 10
Time: Unit (3 weeks)
Students will “live” the experience of Canada’s political process as they participate in an interactive and multi-faceted hands-on simulation of Canada’s parliamentary process. Students will form political parties based on similar beliefs and create a political party name, symbol, platform and speeches. Students will participate in the process of campaigning for an election and take part in the election day process. Finally, students will simulate parliamentary democracy through passing legislation in the House of Commons.
Informed Citizenship: Overall Expectations
describe the main features of local, provincial, and federal governments in Canada
and explain how these features work
The Rights and Responsibilities of Canadian Citizenship
demonstrate an understanding of how the judicial system (e.g., law courts, trials,
juries) protects the rights of both individuals and society (e.g., the rights of the accused, the rights of the victim, and the role of the judiciary);
identify significant political leaders in today’s Canada.
Making Decisions, Resolving Conflicts, and Developing Policy in Canada
explain the main features and functions of the different levels of government in Canada (e.g., federal, provincial, municipal);
compare how laws, regulations, public policies, and decisions are made and
enforced at the local, provincial, and federal levels;
investigate the role of political parties in the parliamentary process and examine the
selection process for majority, minority, and coalition governments, using provincial
and federal examples;
examine and describe the roles played by elected representatives and interest
groups in the political process (e.g., lobbying);
research recently passed legislation at the community, provincial, or federal level to
resolve public conflict (e.g., smoking and health regulations, drinking and driving
laws, gun laws), and then produce a report analyzing the key issues and different
points of view on the issues.
Active Citizenship: Overall Expectations
demonstrate an ability to research questions and issues of civic importance, and to
think critically and creatively about these issues and questions;
demonstrate an ability to apply decisionmaking and conflictresolution procedures
and skills to cases of civic importance;
demonstrate an ability to collaborate effectively when participating in group enquiries
and community activities;
demonstrate an ability to formulate questions; locate information from different types of sources (e.g., texts, special references, news media, maps, community resources, Internet); and identify main ideas, supporting evidence, points of view, and biases in these materials;
demonstrate an ability to organize information effectively (e.g., using summaries, notes, time-lines, visual organizers, maps, comparison organizers);
demonstrate an ability to contribute to a positive climate in group settings (e.g.,
respect rights and opinions of others, accept personal responsibility for group duties,
provide leadership when appropriate, encourage others to participate);
communicate their own beliefs, points of view, and informed judgements, and
effectively use appropriate discussion skills (e.g., persuasion, negotiation);
demonstrate an ability to work collaboratively and productively with others when
researching civics topics in their community.
Activity 1: Political Spectrum (1 period = 76 minutes)
1. Teacher introduces concept of a “spectrum” by using examples (ie. happiness spectrum, rainbow) and involve students in a general discussion / interaction.
2. Teacher gives lesson to introduce the political spectrum “wings” and explain the various ideologies of political parties on left, centre and right (ie. communism, socialism, conservative, liberal, new democratic party, fascism etc.).
3. Teacher should prepare a worksheet that allows students to practice their knowledge by matching various statements to the corresponding “wing” or place on the political spectrum. Teacher should also take up this worksheet to ensure students are comfortable with terms and demonstrate a clear understanding.
3. Students complete the Where Are You on the Political Spectrum? - Question Sheet independently. NOTE: teacher should record scores of each student for future lesson.
4. After students complete worksheet or self quiz, the teacher can direct the students to form a “continuum line” based on their own score from Political Spectrum sheet (high numbers at one end lined up chronologically). This line should then be “folded” so that the two people at the very end of each side of the spectrum will become partners. Students should then compare / contrast beliefs and then give a short report to class. The teacher should circulate during this process to ensure students are talking and after all reports the teacher could initiate a class discussion to end the class.
Activity 2: Federal Election Simulation (5 full periods= 380 minutes)
1. Teacher should organize 3 - 4 political parties (dependent on class numbers) based on the scores from Political Spectrum Question Sheet from previous day. Teacher should also select 2-3 capable and well-suited students to assume the role of the media during the election simulation.
2. Introduce the (Federal Election Simulation, and explain roles of the political parties and media. Teacher should ensure students are aware of responsibilities and up-coming dates (campaigning, speeches, interviews, polls, debate, interviews, newspapers and election day) listed on handout.
3. Teacher should give examples / show exemplars of previous political party platforms, media newspapers and cartoons, political party slogans, candidate speeches, posters, pamphlets etc. This will help political parties create a “vision” of their political party and campaign or newspaper. It is very important for the teacher to get the student’s excited for the simulation, especially by raising the level of competition between political parties.
4. Before beginning the simulation, teacher should review the three levels of government (federal, provincial, local) and the areas of responsibility for each level. Make sure the students are aware that the simulation is at the federal level, and political platforms should be based on federal responsibilities.
5. During the simulation, teacher should give homework questions (textbook, Internet, newspaper) based on: how Canada chooses a government; Canada’s election process; types of electoral processes ie. FPTP, Second Ballot etc.; how campaigns are executed; key figures in Canadian political parties; other.
6. After election day (last day of simulation), political parties and media will complete peer/self assessment sheet and teacher will complete political party rubric and media rubric.
Activity 3: House of Commons Simulation (5 periods = 380 minutes)
1. Before beginning simulation, the teacher should deliver a lesson on the three “branches” of government in Canada (legislative, executive and judicial) and the roles / responsibilities for each branch. Teacher should also review processes of how the House of Commons is set up and the rules of House of Commons and Question Period.
2. Teacher introduces and explains House of Commons Simulation.
3. The political parties that sit in the House of Commons should be based on the results of the Federal Election Simulation. The teacher should place the members of the media in political parties where he/she deems needed / best.
4. Before setting up the class as the House of Commons, the results of the Federal Election Simulation should be examined and the class should configure how many seats their own political party would have in the House of Commons and where they would actually sit.
5. It is recommended that the teacher prepare “name cards” on different colours of paper (ie. Prime Minister, Government-Cabinet, Government-Backbencher, Official Opposition Leader, Official Opposition Backbencher, Speaker of House etc.) that the students will place in front of them during the simulation. This helps students “visualize” and see the parties more clearly. The teacher should also create a “Mace” to be carried in each day before sitting in the House of Commons.
6. During the drafting of a federal bill stage of the simulation, it is also recommended that the teacher provide class with examples of bill(s) printed off of Hansard and previous bill drafted by students (exemplars) and discuss bill(s). Teacher should circulate during drafting of bill stage to ensure bills are created correctly and are based on proper ideas.
7. After bills are drafted, teacher should collect bills (after the first reading) and photocopy the bills (different colour paper to decipher bills = same colour as name cards is easy) for each student. Thus, the next day of class all students will have copies of all bills which they will examine as a party and write on and devise questions for Question Period. This allows them to follow along during the readings and the debate.
8. Teacher should encourage every MP (student) to ask speak during Question Period (ie. ask or answer 2-3 questions each) to ensure a communication mark.
9. During simulation teacher should give homework questions based on: Canada’s three “branches” of government (executive, legislative, judicial); Canada’s Government (constitutional monarchy) and Parliament (House of Commons and Senate); set up and roles within House of Commons; process of how a bill becomes law; how a federal bill is drafted etc.
10. After the House of Commons Simulation is completed, students will complete the self/peer evaluation and the teacher will complete the House of Commons Simulation Rubric.
11. Students complete Canadian Government Reflection and submit on designated date. NOTE: this is a take home assignment, which should be given during simulation and handed in after. Teacher should evaluate reflection with Canadian Government ReflectionRubric.
- Political Spectrum Activity
- Where Are You On the Political Spectrum?
- Federal Election Simulation Instruction Sheet
- House of Commons Simulation Instruction Sheet
- Political Party Rubric
- Media Rubric
- Group Evaluation: Government Simulation
- Canadian Government Reflection Sheet and Rubric
- Elections Canada package (ballot box, tally sheets, list of electors, official statement of votes)
- Homework worksheets
1. Peer / Self Assessment
2. Political Party Rubric
3. Media Rubric
4. House of Commons Rubric
5. Canadian Government Reflection Rubric