It's the day after the veep debate and I'm chatting with the third graders about the latest 'Time for kids' which has a special issue about the November election.
These kids spent much of second grade studying the fifty states so they are a wealth of information about such things. "Dick Cheney is from Wyoming. There are more sheep than people in Wyoming, that's why it has only 3 electoral college votes"
We move on, we play a math/civics game based upon the elctoral college system. One dice for George Bush, another dice for John Kerry, whoever scores highest gets the state with it's electoral vote, we add the votes up and soon we have a mock presidential race on our hands. The kids are loving this, they are bemused when California goes Republican "My aunt lives there and she's a Democrat", delighted when Texas goes Democrat "that'll NEVER happen" and appreciate that Wyoming with all it's sheep is a pretty safe bet for Mr Cheney. The tension builds as we work our way through the south, "do Florida! do Florida!"
"OK kids, Florida has 27 electoral votes because it's a densely populated state"
the dice roll, Bush takes Florida.
A voice, first just one, then a chorus.
I'm a little taken aback.
"we demand a recount"
"There was a hurricane"
"I smell foul play"
Under pressure from 15 third graders I roll again. And again. And again.
We endure five recounts before florida goes to John Kerry.
The lesson about electoral fraud is scheduled for next week.