Teaching The Political Spectrum to Middle School Students

So here in my home province of British Columbia, we are getting ready to have a provincial election.  In my district, that means we are to elect a representative (MLA, or Member of the the Legislative Assembly, for my American readers).  The political party with the most reps elected puts their leader in as the Premier (again, for Americans, this would be like the Governor of a state).

In my district, we have a candidate for the Liberal Party, New Democratic Party, Green Party, and an Independent.  This doesn’t mean a lot to a 6th grader for the most part, without a frame of reference to where these parties fall on a political spectrum. In fact, in middle school, it is really important to lay the foundation on what even the political spectrum is.

As an educator and home school mom, I am always searching the web and resources around me for lesson plans to help my middle school students learn the difference between fascism,  capitalism, socialism, communism; and all the related terms and concepts that go along with these things.  When a person has a historical perspective and reference to filter the rhetoric of politicians and their promises, they are truly better able to make an informed choice.

In these days of strong political opinion and a call to activism on both sides of the political spectrum, I believe it is essential to train students to think for themselves, but base their activism on historical truth, not political rhetoric and media influence.

Alas, here I could digress….

For those parents and/or educators looking for some ideas on how to explain this topic, here are some resources I have found.

Please feel free to share your ideas and resources as well.

Political Parties


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