Elections Canada launched Choosing our Mascot almost 25 years ago. This popular and well-loved resource aims to introduce students from kindergarten to grade 3 to the basic principles of a real election. A lot has changed in the classroom since that time; that’s why we’ve updated the kit to modernize and simplify the experience for educators and to engage the youngest learners even more.
However, the core of the activity has not changed. Young learners meet five animals that are campaigning to be elected as class mascot: Charlie the Raven, Desneiges the Polar Bear, Max the Walrus, Neevee the Caribou and Sam the Wolf.
The kit still includes a ballot box, voting screen and beautiful campaign posters for each mascot as well as printable materials that are specially designed for early learners. Teachers can access Choosing our Mascot online or order a kit for free.
In this activity, students listen to the candidates’ campaign speeches and participate in the catchy songs. Then, they vote on their preferred mascot using realistic voting materials.
In order to make the resource easier for teachers to use and more engaging for students, the kit now includes two new online videos featuring the campaign speeches and songs.
The campaign speeches video features the original posters for each mascot, designed by award-winning Inuk artist Germaine Arnaktauyok. As each candidate delivers their speech, the words appear on the screen, to help the youngest learners develop their reading or pre-reading skills.
The campaign songs video will get the whole class dancing and singing. Younger learners can do the simple actions with each animal, and older learners can sing along with the words on the screen. Each animal has a distinct musical style that is sure to get everyone on their feet.
The videos are not the only update to the resource. When you order the kit, you’ll also receive all of the materials you will need to carry out the activity. The same materials can also be found online. So if you need to copy more ballots, print some election vocabulary or refer to the teacher’s guide, it’s all available at your fingertips.
The teacher’s guide provides clear age-appropriate instructions, questions and answers for young learners, and adaptations for older or younger learners.
After the campaign, students can vote by marking a ballot behind the voting screen and placing it in the ballot box. Once all of the votes are counted and the results announced, the class can have a victory celebration and hang the winning mascot’s poster in the classroom as a reminder of their class election.
Participating in mock elections can prepare the youngest learners to participate in real elections when they are old enough.