Share the learning intentions for the activity. Tell students that the class will be:
Learners have a clear understanding of what they are learning and can see how it fits into the bigger context.
Before they start defining their requirements, it is important students have completely understood the different voting systems being used.
The AEC Education site provides a resource called Topic 3 – What’s your vote worth? in their series on voting and elections. The introductory activity in this resource is an exploration of a hypothetical student election, and the associated worksheet is available as Topic 3 – Blackline Master 1 from the download link on the AEC Democracy Rulespage.Using the teacher guide for the introductory activity, have students work through BLM1 with particular emphasis on the secret ballot elections (ie one first past the post, the other preferential).
Over the course of this module, students will develop programs that correctly determine the winner of an election using two different types of voting systems:
Implementation of the first past the post solution will give them an opportunity to familiarise themselves with the implementation of an algorithm based on a relatively simple set of requirements.
From there, students who develop confidence working with Python and with algorithm design can independently pursue development of the preferential algorithm, while support may be necessary to have other students develop an appropriate solution.
Both are acceptable approaches.
The voting systems used in Australian elections at all levels of government can be defined in algorithmic terms, so the counting of votes can be performed easily and reliably using computer software. However, modern elections still take place using paper ballots and secret ballot boxes across the country, where people present physically to the polling place in their local community. What are some of the reasons, both technical and social, that might prevent Australia from moving to a fully online, electronic voting system?
Students reflect on their learning in this activity using the Triangle-Circle-Square strategy where they:
You can use the responses from this activity to identify any areas that might need extra attention in future lessons, and to get a sense of how far students have progressed in their understanding.