Aim: To show that young people have the right to have a say and to have their opinions taken into account. Taken from the BB Company Section Discoverer Pro Pack, Community, Local and National C1
• 'Political Bingo’ template
• Paper and pen
• Enough chocolate bars for each member of the group
• £5 gift voucher
• Local pictures
• Faces’ template
• ‘Dilemmas’ template
• ‘Turning Opinion Into Action’ template
• ‘Making Change Happen’ template
• ‘Youth Action Plan’
Activity 1 - Political Decisions
Aim: To get the group thinking about how political decisions are made.
Political Bingo (5 mins):
• Give each young person a ‘Political Bingo’ template. I;.
• They must race around the room finding people who meet the criteria of each statement.
Agree or Disagree (10 mlns):
• Stick a sign saying ‘agree’ and one saying ‘disagree’ on opposite sides of the room and ask everyone 3 to congregate in the space between the two.
• Read out a statement and ask The young people to go to the end of the room that best reflects their opinion. The stronger they feel about an issue, the further they should go to the end of the room.
• Encourage discussion about why they have chosen their position.
• if someone is undecided they may remain in the middle and listen to contributions from either side of the floor before making up their mind.
• Once discussion ends begin with another statement.
Statements and discussion points:
1. The voting age should be lowered to 16.
• You can leave school, get married, and pay income tax at age 16.
• In the UK the voting age is 16.
• Most democracies in the world have a voting age of 18.
• Countries that have a lower voting age include Iran (15), Brazil (16) and East Tlmor (17).
2. Young people are not interested in politics.
• 37% of 18-24 year olds voted at the 2005 UK Parliamentary general election. This makes young people the least likely to vote.
• 75% of people aged over 65 claim to have voted.
• Research by the Electoral Commission shows that young people are interested in “issue based” politics but turned off by party politics in general.
• More than 75% of young people have taken part in some civic activity.
3. Voting at elections should be made compulsory.
4. Politicians should retire at the age of 60.
5. Young people care more about what happens in Big Brother than they do in elections.
6. People should be able to vote using the internet or text message.
7. There should be an equal number of male and female politicians.
Who’s In Charge? (15 mins):
• Get the group to sit in a circle.
• Designate two people as decision makers for the group.
• These two people are in charge of the group for the next two minutes. They have to identify three tasks, issues or rules that they are going to make decisions on.
• All members of the group have to follow these decisions.
• Allow as many young people as possible to become in charge for at least two minutes; they can stick to the rules that their predecessor made or scrap them all and make a new set. For example:
— Only people whose names begin with the letters P and P can talk.
— Only the decision maker is allowed to sit down for the next two minutes.
— Only the decision maker is allowed to smile for the next two minutes.
• Now, introduce bars of chocolate and ask them to divide them in the group. Make sure there are less bars than participants and instruct them that they cannot break the bars up.
• Ask the group to think of alternative methods of deciding how the chocolate bars are distributed.
— Participation! joint decisions / democratic decision making — Decided by vote or referendum.
— Persuasion — Persuade the group that you deserve a bar.
— Telling! Dictator — You decide who has a bar.
— Lottery — Decisions are made by chance. You draw lots.
• After the game make sure that everyone who wants a bar of chocolate has one.
• Ask the group:
— Is it important that everyone has a chance to make decisions?
— Are decisions made by the whole group more valid than those taken by one person?
— How do we normally go about making decisions?
Activity 2 - My Community
Aim: To put young people in the position of decision makers and helps them to think about the Impact of politics on their local areas.
Politics Around Me (20 mins):
• Distribute various newspapers and ask the young people to identify as many issues that politics has affected and/or issues that the young people care about.
• Cut out the articles, headlines and pictures to create a collage.
• Take some pictures of your local area and ask the young people to identify as many ways as possible that politics has affected the scene in the picture.
• Participants should use post-it notes to mark on the picture issues that politics affects and write on it an explanation of how or why it is affected. e.g. politics affects young people with a skateboard in your town centre as your local council is responsible for providing leisure services and facilities for young people; politics affects the man smoking as Parliament decides what age you can be to buy cigarettes and how much tax you pay; politics affects the litter on your street as local councils arrange for refuse collection and are responsible for cleaning our streets.
• Take the young people on a walk around your local area and get them to take pictures and spot people, places or objects that are affected by politics.
• Using this information ask the young people to draw an illustration or create a collage of their local community identifying how politics affects their lives.
• Display the poster.
Loads of money (20 mins):
• Sit in a circle and introduce a £5 gift voucher and ask them to imagine that it is £5000.
• Ask the group how they would spend it in their local community.
• Get the group to hand round the voucher and make a statement on how they would spend it. Encourage them to be realistic about what they can achieve with the money.
• Write up each answer on a flip chart and use this as an opportunity to discuss some of the most Z important issues in the local area.
• Get the group to vote on which idea they like the best. Instruct them that they are unable to vote for their own statement.
• The person whose idea gets the most votes wins the voucher. You may also like to suggest that all w the ideas are good, but that you need to work out the best way of spending the money as a group.
• Get the young people to imagine that they are politicians. What would they like to change about what they have seen or read? How would they go about doing this?
Tips / Advice:
Be careful not to use jargon without explaining its meaning.
Activity 3 - Making Change Happen
Aim: Get young people thinking about how political issues make them feel.
• Give each young person the ‘Faces’ template representing “Makes me happy”, “Am I bothered”, and “Makes me angry”.
• Get them to cut out the pictures.
• Introduce an idea or statement and ask the group to raise the picture that best reflects how they feel on the issue. Statements could include:
— Young people are not interested in politics
— Third world debt should be cancelled
— Homework should be made legally compulsory
— The price of football match tickets should be reduced
— Public transport is satisfactory
— There isn’t enough money to keep our streets clean
— Young people have enough to do and don’t need people to entertain them
— Voting should be made compulsory
Do not feel tied to these questions, but feel free to come up with your own ideas or use any other topical issue.
• Discuss why they raised a particular face and allow the group to ask each other questions.
• Use the ‘Dilemmas’ template to spark discussion on a scenario or make up your own.
• Each participant must come up with their own decision and then a group one.
Turning Opinion Into Action:
• Cut up the ‘Turning Opinion Into Action’ template.
• Divide participants into small groups and give each group one set of cards.
• Ask them to match up the opinions and actions that they think go best together.
• Come back and get participants to think about what they would like to see changed and fill in the ‘Making Change Happen’ template. Then discuss who you think is responsible and how you can get involved.
• Use the ‘Youth Action Plan’ template to plan one thing that you want to change and then do it!
Tips / Advice:
Why not do what the young people suggest to show that their opinions are respected and valued.
For full details see the BB Company Section Discoverer Pro Pack, Community, Local and National C1