Make learning facts about U.S. Presidents a bit more fun this year. Students in grades 3-5 use online resources to find basic information on a U.S. president. Then, using Microsoft Word, they create bookmarks containing a few facts about the selected president along with his photograph, print the bookmarks, and trade them with their peers.
U.S. Presidents, U.S. History
Lesson PlanThis lesson requires only 1-2 classroom periods to complete and is a great culminating activity for a civics or U.S. History class.
Begin the lesson by displaying a bookmark -- one either made by you (directions below) or purchased at a store. Tell students that they each will make a bookmark similar to yours, except theirs will contain information about a U.S. president. The goal is to find information on a president, determine the most important facts about his career, and then include those facts on a computer-generated bookmark.
Brainstorm with students the kinds of facts they think are most important to include. Ideas might include: information on wars waged during the presidency, laws passed, well-known accomplishments, and so on. If conversation lags, mention a famous president (Washington, Lincoln, Kennedy...) and ask student what that president is best known for. Write all ideas on the chalkboard.
Display the bookmark again. Ask: "Will all those facts fit on this bookmark?" Then explain to students that they must select the 3-4 most important facts to include. On the chalkboard, circle the types of facts that are most important. Don't forget to include years of presidential terms and perhaps dates of birth and death.
Next, assign to each student a U.S. president. Have students go to The Smithsonian's The American Presidency: A Glorious Burden. (Because a bookmark is so small, this assignment does not require multiple research sites.) Explain to students that they are to read the information about their assigned president, and record the most important facts about that president.
Now it's time to make the bookmarks. Have students complete the following steps:
Students now can move their cursors up and down within the bookmark to add text about their assigned presidents. (Depending on time constraints and on whether or not the bookmarks will be printed with a color printer, you might want to limit students' use of font style, color, size, and so on.)
Students also can add a picture of the presidents to their bookmarks: They right-click the image of the president at the Grolier Web site (or hit Control and then click the image on a one button mouse or a Mac), select "Copy Image" or a similar command, click the bookmark, right-click (or Control and click) again, and select "Paste."
When the bookmarks are complete, have students print one copy of their bookmarks. Depending on time and resources, you might want to print the bookmarks in color or on colored paper, print them in black and white and let students color them, have students cut them out using pattern-making scissors, laminate them, or decorate them with a hole and string.
Using a copier, make one copy of each completed bookmark for each student in the class. Students can exchange bookmarks with their peers or give them to younger students as study helps.
AssessmentStudents will be assessed on their:
Lesson Plan Source
SOCIAL SCIENCES: U.S. History
GRADES K - 4
NSS-USH.K-4.3 The History of the United States: Democratic Principles and Values and the People from Many Cultures Who Contributed to Its Cultural, Economic, and Political Heritage
GRADES 5 - 12
NSS-USH.5-12.1 Era 1: Three Worlds Meet (Beginnings to 1620)
NSS-USH.5-12.2 Era 2: Colonization and Settlement (1585-1763)
NSS-USH.5-12.3 Era 3: Revolution and the New Nation (1754-1820s)
NSS-USH.5-12.4 Era 4: Expansion and Reform (1801-1861)
NSS-USH.5-12.5 Era 5: Civil War and Reconstruction (1850-1877)
NSS-USH.5-12.6 Era 6: The Development of the Industrial United States (1870-1900)
NSS-USH.5-12.7 Era 7: The Emergence of Modern America (1890-1930)
NSS-USH.5-12.8 Era 8: The Great Depression and World War II (1929-1945)
NSS-USH.5-12.9 Era 9: Postwar United States (1945 to early 1970s)
NSS-USH.5-12.10 Era 10: Contemporary United States (1968 to the Present)