Year 9 and the Alternative Vote

My year 9s were talking about voting today, as part of a unit on the development of democracy in Britain and they asked me about AV as it had been in the news quite a lot.

To try and demonstrate, we had a quick election!


Part 1

3 students volunteered and had 30 seconds to say why they should be elected by the class.

Each class member then got a post-it on which they wrote the names of all three candidates, and then put an X next their prefered candiate.

Those were counted, and the person with the most votes one the seat!

Part 2

Then we scaled it up, and looked again at how each group of tables had voted [1. My room is divided up into 5 blocks of tables] . If my room became a country, and each table a constitency, then we ended up with a 4/1/0 split in our fictional parliament.

We talked about what this meant for those people that had voted for the different candidates, who was happy with the arrangement and who wasn’t, and what the problems were.


Part 3

That brought us on to AV, so everyone went back to their post-its and voted again, this time using a 1-2-3 vote.

We added that information to a spreadsheet that I threw together, and showed that as no candidates had got 50%+1 we had to elimate one and then count their second preference votes. In this case we ended up with a 50:50 split (in hindsight I should have seen it through and tossed a coin to decide, but I was making this up as I went along!), but it got us to a point where they could see the difference in result with the first past the post system.


I’ve just tided up and tried to sort out the spreadsheet, which I attach here in case it’s of any use to anyone.


I know it’s not a perfect version of how it works, but it made the point quite nicely.


Let me know below how you get on if you use it or if any of it doesn’t make sense!

Download the spreadshead – AV test

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