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Citizenship, political science, history, geography...All of these are part of civic education. KSMU's Missy Shelton explores opportunities for students to pursue civic education outside the traditional classroom and how schools integrate citizenship and other aspects of civic education into their curriculum.
In the push to improve reading and increase scores on standardized tests, what's broadly known as social studies often gets less attention.
Joyce Munden is the social studies curriculum facilitator for all grade levels in the Springfield Public School system.
Munden says there are consequences for failing to educate students about the importance of being active citizens...she says it's evident in the lack of knowledge and low voter turnout.
Munden says Springfield students are fortunate to live in a community that's interested in civic education.
She says all fourth graders have the opportunity to tour city hall and learn about the functions of government as well as the importance of volunteers who serve on city boards.
She says students need to see that democracy requires participation.
This spring, fifth grade students in Reeds Spring public schools thought they would try to make a difference...they watched as state lawmakers debated and voted on legislation that had its beginnings in their classroom.
Their bill was House Bill 1833, introduced by their state representative Dennis Wood.
The legislation established the crawfish as the state invertebrate.
Student Callie Thomas says the class decided that working with lawmakers to add a state symbol was a worthwhile project.
The idea for the legislation came out of Janna Elfrink's 5th grade science class.
She says her class was doing some internet-based research.
That's Michael Kinsworthy is one of Janna Elfrink's students.
He says he learned quickly that legislation has to go through many steps before becoming law.
All fifty fifth grade students involved in the project got to see the political process firsthand when they took a trip to Jefferson City this spring.
Haley Ingersoll describes the experience.
Again, fifth grade science teacher Janna Elfrink.
When the students went to Jefferson City, they made a presentation to the House Tourism Committee, which had the responsibility of deciding whether or not to send the bill to the House floor for debate.
Andrea Studer helped make the presentation to the House Tourism Committee.
Even though the bill passed out of the tourism committee and gained consent status, something that helps legislation move more quickly through the process, the bill died in the senate on the last day of session.
The bill sponsor, Representative Dennis Wood says even though the bill failed, the students should be proud of all their work.
Wood says he plans to re-file the bill in December and work with the students once again on getting a new state invertebrate...
It's just this sort of hands-on project that encourages social studies curriculum facilitator Joyce Munden.
She says whether it's a science class or history class, students need projects that demonstrate to them the role they play in our democracy.
Even though the bill failed to gain legislative approval, the fifth graders who wanted lawmakers to make the crawfish the state invertebrate say they learned important lessons...Fifth graders Andrea Studer.