The Democracy Lab is a signature component of the National Center. Located on the building's main floor, small groups of young people from across the city, state, and nation gather there to form learning communities whose goal is to develop and practice the skills needed to ensure democracy. Educators train to become master teachers in democracy education, collaborating in the development of the National Center’s innovative curriculum.
The Lab houses electronic and print resources as well as accommodating small group collaboration and dialogue. The Lab also showcases similar democracy work being conducted by youth across the nation.
The Democracy Lab focuses on making relevant the ideas that "We, the people shape democracy," and "I, too, can shape democracy." An ever changing and dynamic experiment in democracy, the Lab is developing an interactive educational course that will give insight into the culturally diverse experiences of American democracy throughout our history. Through debate, discussion and by actually doing, these events are made contemporary and relevant to visitors today.
Programs at the Democracy Lab
Democracy in Action
"Democracy in Action" is a program of the Democracy Lab that trains classroom and community educators to become master teachers in democracy education. In conjunction with school district-mandated service learning requirements, youth apply the skills of democracy – collaboration, critical thinking, research, and participation – in tackling real life issues they have identified to be of importance within their communities.
Students visiting the Fighting for Democracy exhibition at the National Center can incorporate the Democracy Lab as part of their tour, using workstations to record their reflections on the experience.