Our Junior High and Lower Elementary Classes participated in the Milwaukee Montessori School Election Games. Students simulated the entire election process from start to finish. We even had a film producer, Stuart Chait who arrived from Los Angeles with a crew of six, to create a movie documenting the process of democracy in action. The Election Games was developed by Junior High faculty member Ben Riggs. It is a simulation of an American presidential election, replete with primaries, donors, advertisements, debates, and promises to voters. For almost three weeks, two hours a day, while the game was played, camera crews followed MMS Junior High students capturing behind the scenes action. Political parties prepared their candidate, and developed strategies to win the votes of hard-nosed, discerning Lower Elementary six, seven, and eight-year-old students.
Junior High students were busy scheduling meetings with donors, and cutting deals with members of their political parties to solidify support for their nomination. A student-run Election Commission settled conflicts between parties, and scheduled a series of town hall meetings, where candidates spoke to Lower Elementary students revealing their party platforms. Some ideas were met with enthusiasm, such as providing additional shelter for the homeless. However, confidence among voters was shaken when candidates were unable to detail the manner in which they would pay for such ambitious promises.
Check out the clip featured on CBS 58 Sunday Morning.