This is my favorite lesson that I have ever created. It allows students a chance to change classroom rules, teaches them about the types of democracy by actually letting them participate as a democracy, and it is really fun. This simulation is student led, so it is always different. The instructions might seem overwhelming, but I have included student examples at the bottom of the document and this lesson has been successful with 7th- 12th grade. Students always come back and tell me how great this lesson was. It also helps with classroom management!
This is an opportunity for students to learn about direct democracy , indirect democracy, and the law making process. I use this lesson when I teach ancient Athens and compare it to the United States, but I also have used this as a lesson to set up classroom rules at the beginning of the year. The buy in for students is that the proposed laws they write have a chance to become classroom rules. That’s right, they have the opportunity to write classroom rules. It is important that you give yourself VETO power and make them aware that students CANNOT override your veto. When I teach this lesson, it takes 3 full 90 minute periods, but it can be modified. Actual student examples that I , as the President, have signed into law are at the bottom of this document.
Students can think about all sorts of classroom rules when they are writing bills…Hats, food, music, grading, party days, homework slips, breaks, homework, tests, procedures, nicknames, etc. Let them have fun! The content of the bills is not important, this is simply the student by in, so that they can get into it and have fun with democracy.