First in the Nation Primary Makes the Grade at Pelham Elementary

February 12, 2016



by Kaela Law

New Hampshire holds the First In the Nation Presidential Primary each year when a president of the United States is to be elected.  It is written into law and is a proud tradition of the Granite State.

This year Pelham hosted four campaign events:  Senator Lindsey Graham with Senator John McCain at the VFW,  Governor Chris Christie at the VFW,  Governor Jeb Bush at the Sherburne Hall and Governor John Kasich at the Sherburne Hall.

Results are in.  Senator Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump have won a majority of New Hampshire votes, with Governor Kasich taking second in a large Republican field.

The results are similar to the votes cast by Pelham’s Elementary School students.

On Feb. 2 the fourth and fifth grade students participated in a mock election, learning all about the role New Hampshire citizens take in electing the president of the United States.

Hosting a mock election was the idea of Technology Integration Specialist and Enrichment Teacher Karen Slaton.  She worked together with Media Specialist Tracy Gamble to create lesson plans for the students that gave them some background information leading up to the election.

As part of the regular fourth grade curriculum the students study New Hampshire government, culminating in a class trip to the State House in Concord to see their legislature at work.  Occasionally they are able to meet the governor or local representatives.

In fifth grade, they study the Constitution and the students choose a branch of government for a research project.

Regarding the mock election, Karen Slaton said, “In the Unified Arts classes the kids learned general facts about the candidates, the two major parties and what it means to be Independent.  They learned the difference between a primary and a caucus.  They learned that a primary is important to get the candidates out to meet the average voters, and that voters give opinions about who they want for their nominee.”

In library, the students participated in a scavenger hunt to answer general questions such as, “How many women are running for president?”  “How many candidates are Democrats?”  “How many candidates are Republicans?”  “How many candidates are governors or former governors, and who are they?”  “How many candidates have never worked for the governments and who are they?”

Specific issues were not covered in the lesson plans or scavenger hunts.  The general idea and objective was to introduce the children to the process of choosing a president and showing them the importance of their vote.

After the success of the mock election for the primaries, the general election will be covered nearer to November in all grade levels where there will be more discussion about the job of the president.

“The results are similar to the votes cast by Pelham’s Elementary School students. Donald Trump lead the republican race with 98 votes, however the students voted for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton over Senator Sanders 52 – 25.”