Debates and the constitution

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Our morning began with a very brief conversation about the presidential debate Sunday. While we didn't go into much detail, we did watch the opening and closing questions, both of which were somewhat unexpected, less-political questions asking about the candidates as people and role-models. We noticed the difference between the town-hall style debate and the first debate in which questions were only asked by the moderator. The idea of democracy, of people having power, is a big theme this semester for us. We spent some time time journaling afterwards on our previous knowledge or assumptions about the Constitution (written on the wall behind the candidates at the debate) and our ideas about who should have power in our country.

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Heidi and Soleil were ready to present about their flags of choice today. Heidi presented on the American and Indian flags, biting that one is more political/territory based, the other is more spiritual.  Soleil went into detail about how the Gay Pride flag follows most of the design principals if a well-designed flag.

Most of us aren't quite sure what the Constitution is, but we will explore a role playing game to help us understand it soon. A couple other ideas about what the Constitution is included:

"The rights and laws of the American people. It starts with the famous line "we the people."

"I don't know what the Constitution is. Maybe it's a book or a passage that allows freedom for all people."

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After lunch, we discussed the Constitution and the creators of it. Though the authors had the best of intentions, they were not the most diverse group to write a document for all people with the unalienable rights of "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." I have the kids different roles from a role-playing game about the writing of the Constitution and the Constitutional Convention. In our version, we represented a more diverse group: a farmer, and plantation owner, an enslaved African American, a shoemaker, and a banker. After reviewing our roles and understanding out situational "opinions," we learned the basic roles of parliamentary procedure and read through the burning issues we will discuss and vote on in our formal Constitutional Convention.

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A plantation owner and a banker tried to convince a slave to vote to keep a form of slavery legal, but with pay and better care. After some the representatives debates and attempted compromise on the issues, they moved to propose motions, make amendments, and vote.

 A preview of our final product

A preview of our final product