Young People and Democracy – Youth Session Plan

Young People and Democracy – Youth Session Plan

A session plan encouraging young people to register to vote and make sure their voices are heard. The session plan also allows young people to practices debating and persuasion skills.

Vote with Your Feet

Explain to the group they will be asked their opinion on some statements. They should ‘vote with their feet’ by moving to one side of the room if they agree and to the opposite if they disagree. Those who are unsure or don’t know should stay in the centre of the room.

Example Statements:

  1. Violent video games should be banned.
  2. The age for drinking should be raised to 21.
  3. The death penalty should be reintroduced.
  4. It should be legal to download music and films online

Ask for opinions on statement 1…

Once people have taken their places, ask them their reasons. Invite them to swap sides if they feel persuaded by an argument. ‘There’s no wrong answer!’

Ask for opinions on statement 2…

During this question, give stickers at random to half of the class. Do not explain at this stage what the stickers mean. Ask people to move to their chosen position. Ask people why they have chosen their position.

Stop! Ask all those without stickers to step aside.

Explain that people without a sticker represent the number of young people who are not on the register and therefore cannot vote.

Prompts:

  • Would this have changed the outcome? (if half of the people hadn’t voted?)
  • How does it feel not to be able to express your opinion?
  • Do you think the minority should make decisions?

Conclude the game

Half of young people are registered to vote, so they can have a say, but half are not so cannot have a say. When you are on the register you can vote and, therefore, have a voice. The electoral register is the list of people who can vote. You have to register to be on it. You can go on the register when you are over 16. You can vote when you are 18

Show me the Money 1 (Divide the group into groups of 4 or 5).

Hand out this worksheet to the groups – one per group. Show me the money worksheet

People have five minutes to divide £100 across the categories listed on the worksheet. They are: police and security; culture and sport; defence; environment; education; health; international aid and welfare and benefits. They can spend the money as they wish but they must spend it all.

Move between the groups to discuss how money is being distributed.

To support the activity, here are some examples you could use to show what these areas cover. What it pays for

Police and security – includes police, work to stop people committing crime again, prisons, counter terrorism and drugs control.

Culture and sport – includes funding for people to play sport, for museums and art galleries and tourism.

Defence – includes the armed forces (army, navy and the RAF)and equipment for their work in Britain and abroad.

Environment – includes flood prevention, animal welfare, pollution and climate change.

Education – includes teachers and schools, colleges (including training on vocational skills) and universities.

Health – includes doctors, nurses, hospitals, medicines and social care.

International aid – includes assistance for people who do not have the food, shelter, education and health care they need and to help countries develop in the long term.

Welfare and benefits includes pensions for older people, support for people looking for work, for people with disabilities, carers and for families on low incomes

Show me the Money 2

The country is in economic crisis. Groups now have three minutes to slash £30 from their first budget. Where will you make the cuts?

Prompts:

  • If you cut funding from education or sport and culture, what effect will that have e.g. on the economy or on health?
  • If money is not given to international aid what impact could that have?
  • If you make cuts in this area and people lose their jobs, what effect will that have e.g. on welfare and benefits?
  • Does anyone want to cut something completely – why?

Show me the Money 3– Conclude the activity

Get feedback from groups and compare decisions made by different teams.

What caused the most debate in your groups?„
Who actually makes these decisions?
How can you influence what decisions are made?

(If people do not mention voting, ask if voting is a way to do so.)

Recap activity outcomes

Summarise today’s session. Highlight that by registering to vote and voting, politicians can be influenced. People often disagree about what should be done; voting is one way that you can have your say. If you register to vote then you can have your say on how you think things should be done and who you want to do them.

Invitation to register

Hand out voter registration forms or students can go to www.aboutmyvote.co.uk and print out the forms.

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