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Our Country, Our Parliament

Learn About Parliament

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Section 6: Parliament in Motion

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  • Booklet: Section 6 Download the PDF
  • Combined Section 6 activity handouts: Parliament in Motion Download the PDF
  • Handout: Make Your Point Download the PDF
  • Handout: No Postage Required Download the PDF
  • Activity 13: Make Your Point

    Objectives

    Instruction Levels

    Graphic for activity 4

    Materials

    Web Links

    Teacher Notes
    Part 1:
    Conduct a four-corners activity with the class. Label each corner of the room with a sign: Strongly Agree, Agree, Disagree or Strongly Disagree. Read out a series of opinion-based statements and ask students to decide to what degree they agree or disagree with each. Have students go, without talking to a neighbour or friend, to the corner of the class with the sign that best matches their opinion. Once students have chosen their corners, have them to discuss their thoughts with a partner and then with the whole group. Ask one representative from each group to share the group’s opinion with the rest of the class. Repeat the process as many times as you like.

    Possible statements:

    Have a class discussion. Which statements produced the greatest agreement? Which ones caused the most disagreement? Can youth have an influence on how decisions are made in Canada? How can Canadians stay informed about Parliament and the issues affecting them?

    Part 2: Read and review pages 42–43 of Our Country, Our Parliament. Review as many of the sidebars as appropriate (i.e. Think About It!, Talk About It!, Word Builder).

    Bring several newspapers into class. Together with your students, list the newspaper elements on the board (e.g. headlines, stories, editorials, front section, sports, entertainment, business, advertisements). Discuss why a free press is important to a democracy and how the media plays a role in the democratic process.

    In order for Parliament to be effective, parliamentarians must hear from Canadians. Brainstorm with your class the ways people can make their opinions known to Parliament. Write these on the board. Pay particular attention to the letters to the editor section of the newspaper and any advertisements of a political nature. Look at examples that refer to recent parliamentary events, decisions or issues.

    Ask students to select an issue that is important to them. How would they make their point to parliamentarians? Why would they choose that method?

    Using the Make Your Point handout, have students create a poster to raise awareness about their issue. Remind students that it is important to do the following when creating a poster:

    Brainstorm with your class possible issues that they might want to address in their poster. For example, students may want to create a poster arguing that the voting age should be lowered to 16 because youth are knowledgeable and mature enough to form their own political opinions at this age and because many have part-time jobs and pay taxes.

    Once the students have created their posters, display them around the classroom.

    Assessment Tool
    Make Your Point Poster Rubric (T)

    Extend This Activity
    Have a poster fair and allow students to circulate around the class and see all the posters. Afterwards, lead a discussion about effective poster design. Which posters were the most engaging and why? Was it easy to discern the main issue for each poster?

    Compare English-language newspapers to newspapers written for specific linguistic and ethnic groups. Ask students how members of their community find out about news, especially when they speak little English. If possible, have students bring in community newspapers in various languages (students will be donating these papers to the class). Ask students to look at an English-language newspaper and compare it to a non-English-language paper. Discuss the results with the class. What stories were similar? Which stories were different? Are there the same sorts of political advertisements in both papers? How does the community newspaper appeal to its audience?

    Graphic for activity 4
    Activity 14: No Postage Required

    Objectives

    Instruction Levels

    Materials

    Web Links

    Teacher Notes
    Review pages 42–43 of Our Country, Our Parliament and discuss as many of the topics in the sidebars (i.e. Talk About It!, Think About It!, Word Builder) as appropriate.

    Brainstorm with the class to come up with a list of topics with which students have become engaged with during the unit (e.g. immigration, crime, youth employment). Ask students to select one topic that concerns them. Brainstorm with the students about how they could make their voices heard in Parliament. One method is to write a letter to a Senator or MP.

    Hand out a sample letter. Create your own or find one online from one of the various campaigns that you think is relevant to your class. Go over the format and organization of a letter using the sample letter and the No Postage Required handout, including the following:

    Have students use the computer to find a Senator or the MP who represents them, or who is involved with parliamentary work of the topic important to them. Through the Parliament of Canada website, it is easy for students to find their MP. Ask more advanced students to look up the Senate or House of Commons committee that might consider their topic (e.g. the House Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration) and have them draft a letter to the Chair of that committee.

    Encourage students to use the handout to help them organize their thoughts and arguments, and to format the letter. When the students feel strongly about their topic, have them send their letters and follow up with them when they receive a response.

    Extend This Activity
    Have students read their letters to the class.

    Brainstorm with your students the reasons that a Senator or MP should visit your classroom or school. Suggest topics he or she might talk to your class about (e.g. career choice, immigration issues, youth issues, future plans for Parliament). Have students draft letters explaining that they have been working on understanding how Parliament affects them. Together with your class, select the strongest letter to send and include an invitation to the Senator or MP to come to the school. Have everyone in the class sign it. Help the students plan the event if the Senator or MP accepts your invitation.

    Assessment Tool
    No Postage Required Rubric (T)

    © Library of Parliament | Revised: 2009-09