DES MOINES, Iowa -- Never underestimate the knowledge kids in this country have, and it's all thanks to their teachers, who are hoping an enthusiastic attitude about voting now will lead to active citizens down the road.
“Even though we don't get to actually vote, we feel like something we did matters,” said Isabelle Piedres, a sixth-grade student at Goodrell Middle School.
The students at Goodrell Middle School are casting their vote.
“Well, I don't follow it, but I am very interested in it. My grandparents kind of help me, and are very political, and teach me stuff,” said Connor Conklin, an eighth-grade student at Goodrell Middle School.
They are doing so even though none of them will be legal to vote for president for another two elections.
“They’re going to have that kind of experience, that voting matters, and participating in the election is something they should do when they are the age where they actually get to vote for real,” said Joshua Brown, Civics Teacher at Goodrell Middle School.
It's a district-wide effort to both educate and enthuse these kids on the electoral process.
“I think part of it of keeping them engaged is being excited myself, to show excitement around it, and try to make it fun,” said Brown.
Part of that fun included exploring America’s diverse political parties, and creating propaganda for each.
“We talked about what propaganda was, and how propaganda cannot always be truthful, and try swinging people towards thinking a different way," said Brown.
They may be young, but the uglier side of this election cycle isn't lost on them.
“So, I know this election, so far there's been a lot of things that they've done, that I don't like,” said Piedres.
Teachers are trying to navigate educating their students while shielding them from more-graphic topics.
“They pick up on a lot, and so I think as a teacher, I’ve been trying to shield some of the worst stuff out of my classroom. Because I don't want them to be saying vulgar names toward one another. I don't want them to be using some of the adult themes, of some of the contents of the debates,” said Brown.
But walking that line seems to be working at Goodrell Middle School because even a mock election can give a real sense of national pride.
“It kind of made me feel like I could actually have a voice and speak up for everything,” said Piedres.