Earlier this week, Grade 4 students embarked on their first Unit of Inquiry: 'How We Organize Ourselves'. They began the unit with an exciting provocation! Students were exposed to three different types of government: anarchy, dictatorship, and democracy. The students visited three classrooms, each representative of one type of government, and spent 15 minutes with the leader of each mini government. This experience was exciting and thought-provoking and the classes had a rich reflection afterwards.

Mme. Bernoux played the role of dictator. Some student reflections on that experience were: 

  • “Everyone was calm.”
  • “I had fun. We got to draw. We had to draw a portrait of her, but we didn’t have enough time.”
  • “The teacher was strict. She kept saying ‘I know everything and you don’t. I know more than you. I know what’s best for you.’ 
  • “It didn’t feel the best… She doesn’t know us, and may not know what’s the best for us. 
  • “It made me feel mad. I felt bossed around. We don’t really know her. She was being kind of selfish.”
  • “We had to do that one activity. There was no choice.”

With Sra. Dolores, the students were in a classroom where there was anarchy. Here are some of their reflections:

  • “You could do anything you want.”
  • “It was loud and fun. People were playing, and their voices were loud.”
  • “The voice level was a problem. It was not as fun.”
  • “Things got knocked down. I was ready for it to end.”
  • “I did not like this because we weren’t doing an activity here.”
  • “Some people might not be able to concentrate. It was hard to draw with all the noise and screaming. It was not peaceful.”
  • “It was nice to choose, but very loud so I sometimes had to tell others to be quiet.”

Students also visited Ms. Angie's class, which represented a democracy in which not everyone can vote (like the early United States). Here are some of their reflections:

  • “It felt unfair — not everyone got to share their vote. Not everyone’s vote counted.”
  • “Only three people’s votes counted. Why those three people?”
  • “Why did she make us write down what we wanted if we didn’t get to share what we wanted?”
  • “I felt happy, because someone said we could do everything safely. I liked what those three voted on.”
  • “I was nervous: what if they chose something that I didn’t want?”
  • “Why did she make us write all these things down? What is the point of voting if your vote doesn’t count?”

During the next few weeks, Grade 4 students will learn more about government through the following Lines of Inquiry:

  • Types of government and how they are organized (function)
  • Rights and responsibilities (responsibility)
  • How decisions made by governments and citizens affect societies (causation)