- Students will identify several of the rights and responsibilities that U.S. citizens have, including the right and responsibility to vote.
- Students will complete their own voter registration forms.
Vocabulary and Definitions:
citizen: a native or naturalized member of a state or nation
register: to put information, including your name, into an official list or record
right: a moral or legal entitlement
responsibility: a job or duty
Survey your parents by asking them the following questions:
- Why do you think that it is important to vote?
- How do you decide who to vote for?
- How do you feel once you cast your ballot?
- How do you feel when you hear the results of the election?
Bring your survey back to class and discuss your findings with other students. As you discuss, consider the question: What does this exercise tell you about voters and their feelings?
- Ask the students what communities they are citizens of. (classroom, school, neighborhood, city, state, nation, global)
- Have a class discussion.
- What are your rights?
- What rights do you have as citizens of a city, state, and country? Discuss with a partner.
- Make a class list. If necessary, prompt the students with some examples: the right to drive, right to free speech, right to travel, right to vote, etc.
- Explain that as U.S. citizens, we have rights, but our rights also come with responsibilities. For example, people have the right to drive a car. Pose the question: Do people also have the right to go as fast as they want to in their car? Clarify that every driver has the responsibility to follow the speed limit.
- Pose the question:
- If you have the right to free speech, is it okay to tell lies?
- Clarify that the right to free speech comes with the responsibility, to tell the truth.
- Remind the students about how hard it was for some Americans to get the right to vote. Then, pose the question:
- What responsibility comes with a citizen’s right to vote? (They have the responsibility to use their right and vote. They also have the responsibility to be educated about the issues)
- Briefly explain what it means to register to vote. Have a class discussion about the following question:
- Why do you think that people need to register to vote?
- Explain that there are rules for voting:
- People who register to vote have to be at least 18 years old.
- People who register to vote have to prove that they are legal citizens.
- People have to vote in their own districts. (Clarify that districts are sections of a state.)
- Explain to the students that they are going to do some voting in the next few weeks, so they need to fill out their own voter registration forms.
- Have each student fill out the voter registration form. Make sure that they save their forms for later use.
First and Second Grade: Copy the following sentences and fill in the blanks:
- People have to be at least __________ to vote. (18 years old)
- People have to be legal __________ to vote. (citizens)
- People must vote in their own __________. (districts)
Third Grade: Write three sentences that describe the rules for voting.