Standing in a classroom at Union Intermediate School, a local legislator was not afraid to admit that he was “not smarter than a fifth grader” after playing an interactive computer game. But the children still learned a lot about how the government works.
Sen. Brent Jackson visited the school Monday morning to discuss government. He was invited by Amy Leatherwood, a fifth-grade English Language Arts (ELA) teacher. The students are learning about the different branches of government — executive, legislative and judicial.
At the legislative level, officials make laws and that section consist of Congress, the Senate and House of Representatives. The executive branch carries out laws and includes the president, vice president and cabinet. The judicial includes the Supreme Court and the other federal courts that evaluate laws.
During his interaction, Jackson and the students had fun using their imagination to create a law of their own — physical education for four hours a day and milk and cookies to go with it. He went over the lengthy process which involves several steps in Raleigh. The first is making a proposal. Next, it’s reviewed by several committees and legislators. One of the final actions includes sending the bill to the governor for approval.
“This is how a bill becomes law,” Jackson said. “Anytime you hear someone say they just rammed this through the General Assembly and passed this law — you know that’s not the case.”
While addressing the students, Jackson also discussed the importance of agriculture in North Carolina. A lot of the students were in awe after learning that the industry generated $84 billion in 2016. The second-highest revenue generator is the military, followed by tourism.
Leatherwood was thankful that Jackson spent his time at the school.
“I think it’s great that the kids really get to see what they’re learning,” she said. “It really brings their learning to life when they get the honor of meeting one of our senators.”
Before the excitement, the students in the ELA class spent a lot of time learning about the three branches of government.
“They worked really hard to learn that and I’m proud of them,” she said.
One of those students was fifth-grader Sherlyn Herrera. During the visit, she enjoyed asking questions to the busy legislator. She appreciated the time he spent at the school.
“His time is very valuable and it was surprising,” she said about the visit.
Principal Jim Workman appreciated the visit from Jackson as well.
“I think the students enjoyed it and Ms. Leatherwood did a good job of preparing her students,” Workman said. “He got to see how we use technology, which is a plus. All in all, it was a good visit.”
Reach Chase Jordan at 910-249-4617. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.