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Return to Electing a president: Lessons for teaching about the presidential primaries


Lesson plan | Presidential eligibility


Teach your students the eligibility requirements for running for president.


  • Civics


  • 3-5
  • 6-8
  • 9-12

Brief description

Could Oprah Winfrey be elected president? Tom Brady? Steven Spielberg? Students learn what requirements determine who can and can't run for president.


Students will

  • determine from a list of famous people which of those people would be eligible to run for the U.S. presidency.
  • learn about the requirements for the presidency.


president, election

Materials needed [shop materials]

  • computers with Internet access or library resources

Lesson plan

Provide students with a list of individuals, living or dead, and ask them to determine which of those people would be eligible to run for president in the current election. Individuals might include Oprah Winfrey, Nathan Hale, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Pope Benedict XVI, Britney Spears, Albert Einstein, Mark McGwire, Steven Spielberg, Martha Stewart, Sammy Sosa, Betsy Ross, Britney Spears, Denzel Washington, and Beatrix Potter. After students have chosen, point out that the only requirements a presidential candidate must have are that he or she is at least 35 years old, is a natural-born citizen of the United States or was a citizen at the time the Constitution was written, and has lived in the United States at least 14 years. (Of course, when choosing the best person to lead the country, voters base their decisions on other important factors as well.) Students can check their answers at sites such as infoplease, or they can use library resources to check their answers. You might also invite them to create their own lists of possible -- and impossible -- presidential candidates.



Students correctly discern whether specific people are eligible to run for the presidency.

Lesson Plan Source

Education World

Submitted By

Linda Starr

Updated 3/06/2016