Politics can be a dry and difficult subject at the best of times and British politics can be even more perplexing.
BrainPOP’s new British Politics Spotlight helps make topics like voting and political beliefs both accessible and interesting.
Now that Parliament has been dissolved and the 2015 General Election (make sure you put 7th May in your diary!) is just around the corner, it’s a better time than ever to tackle British politics in the classroom.
A working knowledge of the democracy we live in, how it works and how to participate in it is a crucial part of citizenship but it’s a real challenge to teach. Unless Parliament Live TV is regularly on at home (instead of CBBC? Unlikely!) then kids might simply be under the impression that politics is boring or confusing.
There’s a reason that the belief that we vote for the Prime Minister is so common!
Helping students to understand the British political process and their rights and responsibilities is key to helping them become active and engaged citizens.
Voter turnout is poor in the U.K. and although the turnout for the 2010 general election was higher than the previous two general elections it was still the third lowest since the introduction of universal suffrage in 1928. If students are empowered to take part in the political process maybe this trend will change, after all Scotland broke the record for voter turnout in the 2014 Scottish referendum and more than 100,000 of those voters were 16 to 17-year-olds!
Take a quick peek at this extract from the Voting movie to see an example of one of our new Politics topics:
In this Spotlight Tim and Moby explore different confusing topics around British politics to discover how it all works and answer key questions such as:
- How is the Prime Minister chosen and what does the job involve?
- How does voting work in the U.K. and how to do it?
- How are laws made?
- Why does voting matter?
- What rights and responsibilities do I have as a British citizen?
- What’s a political party?
- What are taxes and why do I have to pay them?
- What does the Queen do?
Take a look at some of the topics and resources in this spotlight:
There ought to be a law … In this BrainPOP UK movie, Tim and Moby will teach you about the complicated process by which a bill becomes a law! Discover who can come up with an idea for a law, how that idea gets into Parliament, and where a bill comes into the picture. You’ll learn about the roles committees play, what happens in the House of Lords and the House of Commons, and when a bill finally gets to the Queen. Finally, you’ll see why the process is so complicated. Got an idea for a law? Now you’ll know what to do with it!
Want to make your voice heard? Find out how as Tim, Moby introduce you to the process of voting. Learn what kinds of things you might vote on, and why the same method of learning people’s opinions is used everywhere from sandboxes to Parliament. You’ll also discover who can vote in the United Kingdom, and learn about the entire process, from registration forms to polling stations. Find out when general elections happen, and learn about the different ways that citizens can cast their votes. Finally, see what happens if you can’t make it to your polling place in person. Now go get your grown-ups to the polls!
It’s one of the most powerful jobs in the country! Tim and Moby introduce you to what it means to be the British Prime Minister! You’ll learn why the Prime Minister can’t make every decision himself, and who he has to help him. You’ll also find out how Prime Ministers spend most of their days, and you’ll learn all about policies and what they mean for parts of the government. See what the Prime Minister has to do with bills and laws, and find out about a few other powers that the Prime Minister has — and some that he doesn’t! Do you think you could do it?
Sometimes old ideas are good ones! Tim and Moby introduce you to the history of democracy. Find out what the word “democracy” means, and how a democratic government functions. You’ll also learn the three ideas that democracy rests upon, and where we think democracy got its start. You’ll see how democracy worked in ancient Greece, and what sorts of problems that system had. Finally, you’ll learn the difference between a direct democracy, like the kind in ancient Greece, and a representative democracy, or republic, the system that most modern democratic nations today follow. Every vote counts!
What do platforms have to do with politics? Tim and Moby introduce you to the sometimes crazy world of political beliefs and political parties! First, you’ll learn about some of the core beliefs that people share, and where they come from. You’ll also find out how individuals form their political beliefs, and why certain forces can shape our beliefs. Plus, discover why you don’t have to vote for a person from your party, and when — and how — it’s OK to argue about politics. Remember: Vote early and often!
Want to learn how to win debates? No need to answer—that’s a rhetorical question. In this BrainPOP UK movie, Tim and Moby (and Tim’s clone) discuss rhetoric, the art of arguing. Logical arguments are just the start—see how public speaking skills and charisma are also essential to debate success. Explore time-tested strategies used by ancient Greeks and modern students alike, from rhetorical devices to appealing to the audience’s emotions. It’s not just what you say, but also how you say it!
Taxes—you’ve probably heard politicians talk about them, and your parents complain about them. But have you ever wondered what taxes are really all about? In this BrainPOP UK movie, Tim and Moby tell you exactly how they’re used and why they exist! Find out some of the many things that your family’s taxes pay for, including motorways, schools, and parks, and learn the difference between types of taxes. Plus, Tim and Moby will introduce you to income tax and teach you about how you’re taxed at a higher rate as your income rises. So don’t wait for the end of the tax year!—click on this movie and watch it now!
What’s so special about being a British citizen? A lot, as Tim and Moby show you in this BrainPOP UK movie! Learn the broad definition of citizenship and how it applies to citizens of the United Kingdom. Explore some of the freedoms all citizens enjoy, thanks to documents like E.U. Convention on Human Rights. You’ll also discover the responsibilities that come with those rights, from the obligation to pay taxes to the importance of voting in elections. And learn how the naturalisation process can open the doors of citizenship to anyone who to become a British citizen.
You’ve seen their adverts, you’ve read about their candidates. Now Tim and Moby will give you the scoop on the U.K.’s three major political parties. In this BrainPOP UK movie, you’ll learn the history of the Labour, Conservative, and Liberal Democrat parties, as well as some of the key differences between the parties today. You’ll also discover the party affiliations of a few of the U.K.’s best-known politicians and learn about some of the nation’s smaller political parties, too. So before you go to the polls, be sure to watch this movie! (Note: If you are under 18, please do not actually go to the polls.)