Welcome to Elections Ontario’s new educational resources for Grade 5 Social Studies. The lessons are aligned with the revised curriculum released in 2018, are asynchronous, and can be used in whichever order that works best for the educator’s respective students.
Each lesson is focused on an inquiry question, begins with a big idea, prepares students with an engaging “Minds On” section, and encourages knowledge construction through student-focused activities. Lessons conclude with relevant consolidation tasks and assessment activities.
We know that young people need to discuss civic issues and develop civic literacy. The activities in this resource prepare students to become informed voters and active citizens, providing them with a greater understanding of the value of democratic participation.
All lessons within this curriculum can be found below in both an online and PDF format. To request hard copies, please complete a resource order form. We also provide lessons for the Grade 10 Civics and Citizenship course.
Democracy means rule by the people and has a long history, originating in Athens hundreds of years ago. There are many democracies around the world. Each has its own voting system, ways of representing citizens, rights and responsibilities. Our Canadian system of government is called a “parliamentary democracy”. Understanding the characteristics of democracy and its strengths and weaknesses is an essential component of civic literacy.
Active citizenship is important to a democracy, and it can take many forms. A successful democracy relies on everyday ways citizens help each other and society. Sometimes this can mean fundraising for important social issues or organizing a protest against a government policy. Other times, this means making your community better by treating each other fairly and equally. Everybody has a role to play.
Free and fair elections are a significant characteristic of a healthy democracy. Ontario has a system of representative democracy and a voting system called First Past the Post. Citizens vote for a candidate that represents a political party and the winner is the candidate who gets the most votes. There are other voting systems in other democracies. In a democracy, there are winners and losers. However, the winning candidate must represent all the people once they take office. Voting is a responsibility for all citizens to ensure their voices are heard in Ontario’s democracy.
In Canada, there are three levels of government: federal, provincial/territorial and municipal. It can sometimes be hard to figure out which level of government is responsible for things we do in our everyday lives. Sometimes, the different levels of government even share responsibilities! There are many ways government is involved in our daily lives from the water we drink to the streets we live on and the schools we attend. It is important to know about government responsibilities so that we can contact the correct government office or agency when we need assistance or information.
Ontario is divided into 124 electoral districts. An electoral district (ED) is a geographical area of the province that is defined by law and is represented by a Member of Provincial Parliament (MPP) in the Legislative Assembly of Ontario. Each ED is represented by one MPP so that is why there are 124 MPPs at Queen’s Park in Ontario. Millions of people live in Ontario; some MPPs represent well over 100,000 constituents. It can be hard to make sure everyone is represented so making good political decisions is an important part of Ontario’s democratic process. When these decisions are made, some people may be happy and others disappointed or frustrated. However, that is what democracy is about. Everyone has the right to vote for their representative in an electoral district. The candidate that then represents that electoral district must work hard to make decisions that represent the majority of the electors.
It is important to know which level of government is responsible for the different programs and services students will interact with in their lives. In addition to knowing each government’s responsibilities, it is also important to know which government to contact to get their voices heard and the ways in which the government acts to get public input. A key part of democracy is the idea of the common good. Government should listen to diverse voices because diverse groups have different perspectives on issues and decisions should be made that are the best for the whole society. Democracy involves deliberations over how to balance different interests.
This hands-on activity kit will help you hold an election simulation in your classroom so students can learn more about voting and Ontario’s democratic processes.
It is designed to align with the grade 5 social studies curriculum, while also fitting other subject and grade expectations.
The kit includes the materials, roles, and steps you’ll need to hold the election. Fillable templates for ID, ballots, voters list and results tally sheets have been included with the kit. There are guides for creating your own ballot box and voting screens.
The instructions will walk you through setting up your classroom for the election, having students create their own IDs, and getting student volunteers to act as election officials. You can also choose between a short and long activity for selecting candidates, depending on what works best for your class.
In the short activity, students will volunteer to run as candidates within a single electoral district based on a platform they have put together. The class will have two voting locations with the same list of candidates at each location.
In the long activity, students will be put into groups that represent political parties. The class will be divided into two electoral districts, and each political party will develop a platform and choose two members to run as candidates (one for each electoral district). Each electoral district will have its own list of candidates and its own voting location.
Once the candidates have been chosen and a class debate has taken place, students will be able to vote for the candidate of their choice using the ballot templates provided in the kit.
After the election, use the student organizers and discussion questions in the kit to talk with students about the experience. An in-class activity and a take-home activity have also been included to get students thinking about their future as voters.