History teachers are incorporating the election into their classes


Atira Nair

Mr. Martinez, a US History and Government teacher, incorporates the election into class discussion.

Atira Nair, Staff Writer

With the upcoming election, many students and teachers are getting further involved in politics. This year, history teachers are encouraging students to learn more about the government  by incorporating the election in their classes.

Mr. Martinez, a government and U.S. History teacher, is doing so by offering extra credit for watching and discussing the debate. It is vital that young people learn about the election and this upcoming event offers an opportunity for them to do so. Mr. Martinez said, “If we’re not educated and we don’t understand how the election works, then we’re not going to be able to elect people who represent us appropriately.” To have a better functioning system, the people must be educated enough to make rational decisions about who they want in the government. If students are exposed to important events such as the election, they will likely continue to learn more about the government and how it can be improved.

Ms. Mattingly, an AP U.S. History and Government teacher at IHS, also involves her students in the elections by making comparisons of past and current election cycles and government. She believes that it is important to do so, because this way, they are better able to incorporate what they’ve learned in history to the real world by taking their knowledge into account when voting about candidates in the future.

In addition, all Government teachers are conducting an election simulation activity on Nov. 4. Several periods will receive a chance to participate in this mock election in the cafeteria. Each table will have a different side of an argument relating to the elections occurring in federal and state office. According to AP Government teacher Ms. Jorgensen, topics such as marijuana, gun control, and criminal justice reform will be covered as well as debates featuring Mike Honda vs. Ro Khanna and Donald Trump vs Hillary Clinton. Either side will try to convince students from other classes to vote for their candidate or policy on a Google Forms survey conducted at the end. This activity gives students a hands-on experience of experiencing a debate and an opportunity to learn more about the candidates and policies. It also features popular debate topics relating to the elections and allows students to vote for themselves. By voting in this mock debate, students are encouraged to vote in the future as well as learn how their vote counts toward policy reforms that they believe in.

The history teachers also shared some of their personal views on the election and politics in general. Considering the election, Mr. Martinez said that he believes the inconsistency of both of the candidates is dangerous, because it sets a precedent for future elections. Ms. Mattingly, on the other hand, wants to note that although this election is indeed unique, it is important to focus on the policies and ideas that the candidates represent.

The take back from this election year is that students need to keep up with current events and learn more about the election process and the government to be able to maintain a strong society by using the skills they learn now to elect future representatives.

“It’s important for students to really understand what the real world is all about,” said Ms. Mattingly. “So they can apply what they’re learning in class to the outside world.”