Students explore current issues at Vincent High

Published 12:01 pm Monday, February 22, 2016

Students in Dawn Howard’s AP government class discuss the issue of same sex marriage during a carousel activity. (Contributed)

Students in Dawn Howard’s AP government class discuss the issue of same sex marriage during a carousel activity. (Contributed)

By JESSA PEASE / Staff Writer

VINCENT— AP government students at Vincent High School spent a day debating current issues Feb. 12 as a way to demonstrate federal and state regulations through a carousel activity.

Dawn Howard, AP government teacher, said this is the first time she’s done this particular activity, but she’s done similar things with other classes she teaches.

“They loved it,” Howard said. “This class is very intelligent, opinionated and they love to debate.  This gets them out of their seats and mobile and talking to each other.”

The class has been studying the Constitution and federalism, so Howard said the students have been discussing how power is shared and the difference between delegated, implied and enumerated powers.

One the day of the activity, students rotated between five topics— same sex marriage, gun control, legalization of marijuana, abortion and capital punishment— discussing whether they believed the issue should be federally or state regulated.

“My favorite part was watching the students interact, debate and even argue a little about the topics,” Howard said. “They become so passionate about their answers and their cause and they defend it vivaciously.”

She also added that she enjoys sitting back and letting the students facilitate their debate. It allows them to become the teachers, she said.

The students drew partners to discuss the issues with and were given five minutes to explore each topic. After Howard went over the final results from both classes, the whole class debated the issues together.

Understanding the basic political rights and principals as well as knowing the issues of today are critical, according to Howard. She said students need to be active and engaged to take part in their civic duties and responsibilities.

“Students need to be educated and familiar with current issues and history,” Howard said. “I believe whole-heartedly that the American public, from students to adults, needs to know the past to be able to embrace the future.”