Elections for the Most Important Organelle have become an annual tradition at GWA. At the beginning of November, Ms. Sando’s 9th grade Biology classes present their candidate organelles and work to persuade their classmates to vote for them. This year produced even more excitement as voting opened up to the whole school! Ms. Sando invited administrators, teachers, and other classes to come by and hear her students’ presentations. A range of voters, including 3rd graders through AP High School students, judged the organelles on their merits.
Earlier this fall, student teams in Ms. Sando’s 9th grade biology classes selected an organelle to research and promote as their candidate. They had two tasks ahead of them: to convince their voters to choose their organelle; and to explain why competing organelles were not worthy of the title, “Most Important.” As they conducted their campaigns, the students researched the functions and distinctive features of their organelles, made fliers and brochures, and filmed commercials for their candidates. They also had to research competing organelles so they could dissuade voters from making the wrong choice.
As a bonus project, the students created Instagram accounts for their candidate organelles. They demonstrated digital citizenship by keeping the accounts on topic and focused on their candidates.
The cell organelle elections offer an excellent example of interdisciplinary learning. The students practice research skills, persuasive writing, and public speaking. They use technology while making their campaign commercials and Instagram accounts. The elections, and their timing in early November, help the students relate to the elections taking place in the United States and the content they are learning in their Comparative Government Class.
Interpersonal skills were particularly important when persuading voters to choose their candidate organelle on election day. The students presented in front of many different audiences: teachers and administrators who came to vote, their classmates, older AP students, as well as Lower School students. The 9th graders did an excellent job tailoring their presentations to each audience and demonstrating the range of their knowledge.
While the results for “Most Important Organelle” varied depending on the class period, all the students deserved recognition from voters. They did an excellent job preparing their materials and presenting to the school on election day. Moreover, all the classes and teachers who came to vote were very respectful of the election process and showed interest in all of the presentations. In more ways than one, it was a model election!