Thursday, November 8, 2012

Extra Credit Grant Kaplan Political Science Term 1

Grant Kaplan
Political Science
Extra Credit
 When I first signed up for political science I had basic knowledge about the structure of the federal government, the two main political parties, and the ideas of the two presidential candidates. I craved more knowledge, however. I had heard of the major issues that were absorbing each candidate’s time and energy, but I had trouble understanding their points because I was so uninformed on the issues they would discuss. Through current events assignments and the current issue study project I have become better equipped to understand and participate in more political debates and provide support for my arguments. I have used current events assignments to challenge myself with a variety of news pieces ranging from “Syrian rebels gain weaponry from extremist groups” to “Facebook reaches 1 Billion Users,” in an attempt to determine how seemingly unrelated events such as Facebook reaching 1 billion users can impact the presidential election. Another major issue that I had trouble understanding was the deficit and its impact. Thankfully, I was stuck with it as my topic for the current issue study project and was forced to become an expert in order to teach the class. First, I found a diverse group of reliable resources to gather my information from, and then I went to work studying the history of the deficit as well as the opinions of economists and the candidates. I had learned both from last year’s junior thesis, as well as this year’s current events, how to find great, reliable sources for a research project, and used this knowledge to secure my understanding of the deficit with websites, scholarly journals, primary sources, and books. I have not received any feedback on my deficit lesson because I haven’t taught it yet, and I have not received too much feedback on my current events besides the first assignment when I forgot to answer one of the guiding questions on the instruction page. I am very glad that I chose to take Political Science because I believe I have learned a great amount of information about current issues, political campaign finance and strategies, and researching techniques as well as added information in the structure of the federal government among other topics previously discussed briefly in other history courses.

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