Bronxville Elementary School third graders got a lesson in democracy when they voted on a T-shirt design during a mock election at their school on Nov. 7. Out of 114 votes cast, third grader Aella Beard’s design – a picture of a panda holding a piece of bamboo – won with 48 votes.
“Aella took the time to write the letters ‘BXV’ in the same bamboo font, which helped it stand out,” teacher Megan Hanson said. “Panda bears are one of the options for students to research more about in the spring during our research unit. We had many entries into the contest, and it was a very close race. Students were very excited to cast their vote and get an ‘I voted’ sticker.”
As a result of their mock election, all students will wear the winning T-shirt design during their field trip to the Bronx Zoo in May, where they will see in real life the animals they’ll research in class.
Prior to the mock election, the students worked individually or in groups to create their own designs, which were required to be hand drawn in one color and include one or more animals, such as tigers, lions, pandas, grizzly bears, rattlesnakes, crocodiles, alligators, sea lions, otters, elephants and rhinos. Each class voted to narrow down the choices to one per class before the entire grade voted on the winning design out of five choices.
The learning experience was part of the social studies unit, where the third graders learned about government and researched three different types of government, including monarchy, democracy and dictatorship. They also reflected on the overarching question of how a government influences a community.
“For democracy, the students learned about voting and how each person has an equal voice through voting,” teacher Megan Hanson said. “We hope they take away the importance of voting and to see how powerful their voices can be.”