Thursday, August 2, 2007

WtP: "How Should Representative Smith Vote"

Our entire Institute group had the opportunity to engage in a simulated public hearing on the topic of smoking. One individual, Julia, was assigned the role of Representative Smith and Brien and Bonnie were her staff. The rest of the group was separated into four groups:
  1. Tobacco Growers and Processors
  2. Citizens for Freedom
  3. Citizens for a Smoke-Free Environment
  4. Citizens for Better Health
Each group had twenty minutes to write a 1-2 minute statement to deliver to the Representative. Groups were called up to give their statements and each was then asked 1-2 follow-up questions by the Representative and her staff.

My group (Stephanie, Richard, Jhordan, and me) was "Citizens for Freedom." We first established that it is well known that smoking is hazardous. We then sited our freedoms from the Bill of Rights and U.S. Constitution, provided examples of areas where our freedoms have been violated, and then offered a strong conclusion.

This is what I said for my section:
The federal government has already usurped our individual rights through seatbelt laws, regulating freedom of speech on the airways, and searches under the Patriot Act. If permitted to once again violate our natural rights, we question how far the national government will continue to go in limiting our rights. Te people of the United States need to ensure we are not allowing our government to completely control our lives.
Following the activity, we debriefed the lesson as if we were K-12 students and then debriefed it as teachers.

This lesson appears on pp. 104-107 of the elementary school We the People textbook.

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