The Road to the Capitol
What it is: The Road to the Capitol has to be one of the coolest sites I have seen to help kids understand government and the campaign and election process. Students are immediately greeted by a newspaper headline “Congressman Retires: who will represent the US on Capitol Hill?”. Students are then taken to a TV ad of one of the candidates running for congress, Roberta Glass. Roberta thinks that kids have too much freedom and should be banned from freely accessing media like movies, TV, video games, and the computer. Students are offered the opportunity to run against Roberta Glass in the election. Students must register as a candidate in the election and are then introduced to their campaign manager. Students make 5 campaign stops in their local congressional district. At each stop, it is their job to help citizens understand the importance of protecting freedom. Students can stop at campaign headquarters at any time to get briefed for each campaign event. At the Campaign Headquarters, students click on important topics to get briefed on such as: Justice and Equality, Rights to Privacy, Freedom of Assembly, Freedom of Expression, and Freedom of Religion. When students choose a topic, they are taken to subtopics that lead them to rich resources where they can delve deeper into the topic and learning. Along the campaign trail, students have to make their own commercial, give a speech, talk to students about the freedom of expression, answer questions in a press conference, and debate Roberta Glass head to head. I can’t stress enough what an awesome interactive site this is. Every webquest should involve kids in the story and process the way this one does!
How to integrate The Road to the Capitol into the classroom: This is an incredible self-guided learning experience. Students will learn about our democratic system in depth by completing this activity. The Road to the Capitol is really best experienced by individual students in a computer lab setting where they have plenty of time to research and complete each stop along the campaign trail. If you don’t have access to a computer lab, the activity could be completed as a whole class using an interactive whiteboard or projector connected computer. To make The Road to the Capitol a more in-depth project, have students take campaign notes along the way in a word processing program. They can later sum up what they learned and recorded in their notes by copying the notes and pasting them into a word cloud program like Wordle. Students could create short campaign commercials based on the commercial they created in the game. These can be recorded with PhotoBooth on a Mac or with a video camera. Students could also create a campaign poster using a word processing or publishing program.
At the beginning of this interactive, you will see the campaign commercial of Roberta Glass. The commercial talks about taking away kids freedoms, I imagine that some passionate discussion about the commercial could follow.
Tips: Really, go check out this website. You won’t be disappointed! Press the “Stop” button on the game to get the teacher/parent pdf guide.
Please leave a comment and share how you are using The Road to the Capitol in your classroom.