Suggested Curriculum Areas:
- Social Studies and Language Arts
To allow students the opportunity to expand their knowledge base of
democracy, political parties, and elections.
- Students will define what makes a country democratic.
- Students will observe United States and Indian political party symbols.
- Students will create their own political party and party symbol.
- Students will work together to create a campaign speech and will share
it with the class.
- Students will participate in the voting process.
Background information for teachers:
India is the largest Democracy in the world. It became
a democracy in 1949 after years of passive resistance led by Gandhi,
against the colonial government of England. India has a federal system
of government similar to that of the United States. Powers are given
to the individual states but are held together by a central union. Parliament
handles decisions that affect national interest such as defense, atomic
energy, finance, railways, etc. The states handle roads and bridges,
sanitation, police, public health, etc.
India holds elections every five years. This country is
divided into sections and people vote on their states day. All votes
are then counted on the same day. Once the application is approved,
the candidate is given a symbol. The symbol is affiliated with their
political party and is used in conjunction with their name and picture
while campaigning. On the ballet, the symbol is placed next to the name
so all people, literate and illiterate can vote for their intended candidate.
India is unique when it comes to political parties. When
India first became free, they had three main political parties, the
Indian National Congress, the Socialist Party, and the Communist Party.
In 1952, when they had their first elections, there were over 50 parties.
Today there are more than 600 political parties in India. Some are individual
state parties. Others are national parties.
Background for students: See
"What is a Democracy?" sheet
Have the children read "What is a Democracy?"
in groups of two or three. Have them discuss whether they think the
United States is a democracy. Have them write down proof as to whether
or not we are a democracy. Then share each group's thoughts in a class
discussion. Challenge them to find out where the worlds largest democracy
is located for tomorrow's lesson.
Begin with yesterdays question about the world's largest
democracy. If nobody guesses, tell them it is India. Explain to them
that India also has the largest number of political parties among all
Refer back to "What is a Democracy?"
and discuss that more than one political party is often a part of a
democracy. "Often times a democracy has more than one political
party. A political party is a group of people that share the same opinions
and want their government to make decisions in a certain way. Having
more than one political party allows for discussions among groups of
people to share their points of view. More than one political party
often keeps all the citizens informed of the choices in a country. "
Explain to the students that groups of people who share
the same political ideas and opinions often join together to form a
group to elect leaders to vote in a way they believe is best. We call
these groups political parties.
Political parties try to convince voters to support their
party's candidates and ideas by sponsoring debates, writing letters,
holding fundraisers, advertising, making speeches, writing slogans,
and holding big meetings called conventions.
Explain that often times these political parties have
symbols that they use to stand for their political party. Show them
pictures of the Democratic donkey and the Republican elephant (on C.D.)
and explain that these are symbols for the two major political parties
in the United States. Ask them why they think each party chose their
Next share with the students some of the pictures below
of the Indian political party symbols. Again, ask the students why they
think the party would choose each for its symbol.
Divide the class into groups of 3-4 children. Give the
children the task of coming up with a symbol, a slogan, and a party
name that stands for something they feel is important to them at school
and would like all the children in the class to agree with them on.
Give some suggestions such as getting more playground balls, having
chocolate milk for lunch or snack, having a hat day once a month, etc.
Depending on the age of the children you could have anywhere from one
to five topics of importance.
Have the group create a poster that shows their political
party name, the symbol they have chosen to represent them, and the slogan
they have created for their group.