Vote in the Classroom: An Election Alternative

Voting is something students are required to learn about whether it is an election year or not. Younger students may have experienced “voting” for which movie to watch or what to eat for dinner at home, but some may have never experienced it. A simple way for students to understand the voting process is to essentially run a class vote. However, just voting for something is not enough. That really isn’t different from some of the class graphs you have made. Students need to be involved in the process of choosing a candidate and supporting their choice.

A simple way for students to understand the voting process is to essentially run a class vote. However, just voting for something is not enough. That really isn’t different from some of the class graphs you have made. Students need to be involved in the process of choosing a candidate and supporting their choice.

An activity that my students (and principals!) loved in the past is voting for a class mascot. You can spend 1-5 days on this activity depending on how involved you want the project to be.


Start by dividing your students into small groups. If your students already work in tables, you may want to split the table groups up so students are working with others they may not be used to working with. Provide each group with two animal choices, but do not provide any group with the same choices.

For example:
Group 1: lion or elephant
Group 2: zebra or tiger
Group 3: giraffe or monkey
Group 4: bear or hippopotamus

The groups will then discuss which animal they want support. Group 1 may decide to choose the lion because he is the king of the jungle. However, group 4 may decide to choose the bear because hippopotamus is too hard to spell!

Next each group will work together to decide why others should choose their animal to become the class mascot. Students can create a bubble map to record their thinking. Encourage students to come up with at least three unique reasons to choose their animal. It would be ideal for each student to come up with one reason.

For example:
You should choose a dog because
1. they listen to others and do what they’re told
2. they play with others nicely
3. they are fun and friendly
Then students will present their arguments to their peers. You can do this as a simple presentation in front of the class or you can incorporate technology. My students used the app Chatter Pix Kids to have their mascots speak for themselves!  The app allows you to take a picture and make the mouth move so it looks as if the object in the picture is speaking.


The students wrote their reasons down in complete sentences and then recorded themselves talking in the app. You can have one student record all of the reasons or each student can record their sentence.

For example:
Hi! I’m a dog and I would make a great mascot for your class! I always listen the first time when someone asks me to do something like sit down or go get the ball. I love making new friends and have so much fun playing. I hope you pick me to be your class mascot!
The process is super simple and your students will be pros in no time!

A simple way for students to understand the voting process is to essentially run a class vote. However, just voting for something is not enough. That really isn’t different from some of the class graphs you have made. Students need to be involved in the process of choosing a candidate and supporting their choice.

Finally, after everyone has presented (or their mascot has presented) the class will vote. To simulate a real vote, you may want to set up a ballot box and a corner of the classroom so each vote can be made in private. Encourage your students to choose the animal they think will make the best mascot, even if it is not the animal they presented to the class.

Tally the votes and announce your winner! You can extend the lesson by having a second vote on a name for the mascot.

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