Study of American Government Offers Authentic Experiences

Each year, 8th grade students explore our country’s government in American Government and Law. They learn about the three branches and how they operate, research laws and policies, and develop positions on important issues.

“The key is to bring government to life,” says Chris Militello, 8th Grade American Government Teacher. “If you can make it real, the kids enjoy it.” Students engage in a mock congress exercise and attempt to pass a bill. They visit local courthouses and are exposed to real life court proceedings. Students also participate in a mock trial exercise, taking on a real court case as attorneys, witnesses and judge. Not only are they fully experiencing the process, they’re engaged as well.

“My favorite part about studying American government is the great discussions we get to have as a class”, says Will Thelen ’21. “We read about issues and events for homework, develop opinions, and then come in and express our ideas and ask questions.”

A political discussion group is a new opportunity for students interested in continuing these discussions outside of the classroom. An optional recess activity that has brought together more than 40 students, “it helps them learn to discuss and debate in a safe environment,” says Mr. Militello. “Our hope is that by teaching them to speak and discuss in a civil manner now, they’ll be able to disagree agreeably when they reach Upper School.”