A Letter to the Mayor (AIG IRP)
After the whole class has learned about local laws and how they are made, local government officials including city council and the mayor, and how local laws are written and can be changed, higher level students will research a local community problem/issue via the internet and/or by interviewing citizens. They will then write a letter to the mayor and/or city council bringing attention to the community problem and offering a solution. This lesson was developed by NCDPI as part of the Academically and/or Intellectually Gifted Instructional Resources Project. This lesson plan has been vetted at the state level for standards alignment, AIG focus, and content accuracy.
Brief Description of Lesson/Task/Activity: After the whole class has learned about local laws and how they are made, local government officials including city council and the mayor, and how local laws are written and can be changed, higher level students will research a local community problem/issue via the internet and/or by interviewing citizens. They will then write a letter to the mayor and/or city council bringing attention to the community problem and offering a solution.
Time Frame: 1-2 hours
Type of Differentiation for AIGs:
Adaptations for AIGs:
Explanation of How Resource is Appropriate for AIGs: This task is appropriate for higher-level students because while they continue to work with the Essential Standard for this grade level, they will also complete a writing assignment to the mayor and/or city council that will require them to research local issues and ways to solve them. Students will also be using third grade objectives for writing and may need to do research using the internet and books and conduct interviews to complete the assignment.
- Attached Letter to Mayor Format
- Attached Letter to Mayor Rubric
- Below are books which may be helpful:
- Local Government (2nd Edition) (Kids' Guide to Government (2nd Edition)) by Ernestine Giesecke
- Who's in Charge? by DK Publishing
- City Council (Our Government) by Terri DeGezelle
- Local Government by Dudley Lofts and David Thomas
- State and Local Government (Government of People) by Laurence Santrey;
- Local Action (Citizens & Their Governments) by Frank Muschal
- State Governments (First Book) by Barbara Silberdick Feinberg
- Local and Central Government by Kathleen M. Allsop and Tom Brennan
- Your Mayor: Local Government in Action (Primary Source Library of American Citizenship) by Jennifer Silate
- The teacher may want to invite the mayor to come talk to the students after the letters are submitted.
- Rubric was created in: http://rubistar.4teachers.org/
- Attachment Community Letter Format from Microsoft Office
Rubric was created in: http://rubistar.4teachers.org/
Attachment Community Letter Format from Microsoft Office
TEACHER NOTES: The teacher should find books related to local government and how local laws are made.
Stage 1: Engage
View your local government websites to find a video of a city countil meeting or other meeting to show students how local issues are handled in a city council/mayor meeting. Please preview any part that you intend to show to students so you are aware of any material that students will see
Questions to engage students:
What laws do you know we have in our community? Are those community laws or laws that everyone in the nation has to follow? Who makes the laws? How are laws made (does someone just decide to make up a law and it becomes a law?)? Why is it important to have laws? What would happen if we didn’t have laws? Can you think of any laws that need to be changed? Can you think of any laws that could be made better? Are there any laws that you think are not needed?
The teacher will read books to students to get them thinking about the following:
- How local laws are made
- The laws that affect the local community
- Who makes the laws
Stage 2: Elaborate
After the whole class has learned about local laws and how they are made, local government officials including city council and the mayor, and how local laws are written and can be changed, higher level students will research a local problem via the internet and/or by interviewing citizens. Students may also read the editorials or other articles in the local newspaper (which may also be online) to discover problems that local citizens are having with the government/laws. Students could use a search engine and type in something like “local government + ‘name of student’s city’”. They should find a site that will show who the mayor and council members are. They may also find archived minutes from city council meetings where they may find issues that have been discussed in their local town/city. Then students will research laws/policies in other areas of the country that address how to solve the problem. The students will plan and write a letter to the mayor/city council to explain the problem in their community and offer a viable solution to the problem (there is an attachment with the format of a friendly letter to show students how a friendly letter/community letter should be written accurately). If the teacher does not want to send a bunch of letters to the mayor, she may choose to have the higher-level students work collaboratively to write one letter or she could create a contest in which one letter among all of the students’ letters is chosen by the other students in the class, a different class, or the principal or a group of teachers to send to the mayor/city council.
Stage 3: Evaluate
The teacher will assess students by using the attachment (rubric) for the letter. This could be an assessment for each individual student (if the students write individual letters to the mayor/city council), or it could be one assessment for the whole group if the students work collaboratively.
TEACHER NOTES: The teacher can tweak the rubric if she wishes to do so.