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Power of the People

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Summary

Students will define the term “democracy.” Students will identify important accomplishments in the lives of the presidents of the United States.

Coin Type(s)

  • Dollar

Coin Program(s)

  • Presidential $1 Coin

Objectives

  • Students will define the term “democracy.”
  • Students will identify important accomplishments in the lives of the presidents of the United States.

Major Subject Area Connections

  • Social Studies

Minor/supporting Subject Area Connections

  • Language Arts
  • Technology

Grades

  • Second grade
  • Third grade

Class Time

Sessions: Five
Session Length: 30-45 minutes
Total Length: 151-500 minutes

Groupings

  • Whole group
  • Small groups
  • Individual work

Background Knowledge

Students should have a basic knowledge of:

  • President of the United States
  • The term “king”
  • Government
  • Jobs and responsibilities
  • Circulating coins

Terms and Concepts

  • Obverse (front)
  • Dollar
  • Democracy
  • Vote
  • Accomplishments

Materials

  • Copies of the worksheets attached to this lesson plan (see “Preparations”)
  • From the Presidential $1 Coin Lesson Plan Resource Center at www.usmint.gov/kids/pres$1coin/LP/resources:
    • Program overview
    • Images of coins for four presidents
    • Information for the same four presidents from the links provided
  • 1 overhead projector
  • Chart paper
  • Markers
  • 1 copy of an age-appropriate text that provides basic information about democracy. For example:
    • D is for Democracy: A Citizen’s Alphabet by Elissa Grodin
    • Power to the People by Kevin Cunningham
    • The Voice of the People: American Democracy in Action (The American Story) by Betsy Maestro and Giulio Maestro
  • Copies of texts that provide basic historical information about American presidents. For example:
    • Encyclopedia of the Presidents and Their Times by David Rubel
    • Lives of the Presidents: Fame, Shame (and What the Neighbors Thought) by Kathleen Krull
    • The Presidents of the United States by Simon Adams
  • Computers with Internet access (optional)
  • Poster board (1 per group)

Preparations

  • Make copies of the following:
    • “Power of the People” worksheet (1 per student)
    • “Presidential Facts” worksheet (1 per group)
    • “Presidential Presentations—Roles” worksheet (1 per student)
    • “Presidential Presentations—Rubric” (1 per student)
  • Make overhead transparencies of four presidential $1 coin obverses from the Presidential $1 Coin Lesson Plan Resource Center.
  • Locate an appropriate text that provides basic historical information about democracy (see examples under “Materials”).
  • Locate appropriate texts that provide basic historical information about American presidents (see examples under “Materials”).
  • Arrange to use the school computer lab for one session.
  • Bookmark appropriate Internet sites that contain biographical information about American presidents.

Worksheets and Files

Lesson plan, worksheet(s), and rubric (if any) at www.usmint.gov/kids/teachers/lessonPlans/pdf/134.pdf.

Session 1

  1. Display a transparency of any presidential $1 coin obverse. Ask the students to examine it and tell you what they know about it. The students should be able to identify this as the front of a coin and that it depicts a particular president. Tell the students that the Presidential $1 Coin Program began in 2007 to commemorate each of our nation’s presidents. The program calls for four new coin designs to be released per year in the order the presidents served the country. Point out to the students that each obverse in the series depicts a different president and shows the years the president served in office and the number of that presidency.
  2. Display a two-column chart with one column labeled “President.” Ask the students to brainstorm some of the jobs and responsibilities of the president. List the student responses under the “President” heading. Write the heading “King” at the top of the second column. Ask the students to identify some of the jobs and responsibilities of a king and record student responses in the column.
  3. Explain to the students that they will be learning about one type of government called a democracy. Distribute the “Power of the People” worksheet. Introduce the students to the selected text about democracy in America. As a group, preview the text. Explain to the students that they will write notes about democracy on the worksheet as the text is read aloud.
  4. After each section of the text, ask the students to tell important facts learned about democracy and model completing the worksheet. Give students time to fill in the web on the worksheet after each section. During the reading, attend to unfamiliar vocabulary and concepts.
  5. After concluding your selected text, review the facts about democracy from the worksheet. Create a class definition of democracy and write this definition on chart paper to be displayed. The definition should include the two key components of “government by the people” and “people voting to make choices about leaders and laws.” Review with the students the idea that America is a democratic government led by the President.
  6. Collect the worksheets.
  7. Throughout the school day, give the students the opportunity to practice voting about normal classroom activities (for example, recess activity, lunch choice) to reinforce the concept of democracy.

Sessions 2 and 3

  1. Display a transparency of a presidential $1 coin obverse. Review with the students the material covered in the first session, including the class definition of democracy.
  2. Review the name of the president pictured on the coin. Ask the students to recall any other information they may know about this president. Follow this same procedure for three additional presidential $1 coin obverses.
  3. Tell the students that they will be acting out a key feature of democracy: voting. Explain to the students that they will be researching American presidents in groups, presenting information to their peers, and then voting for the most important accomplishments of the presidents based on what they learn.
  4. Divide the class into groups of four. Allow each group to vote on which president they will research.
  5. Distribute the “Presidential Facts” worksheet to each student. Each group will work to find out basic information about its designated president and complete the “Presidential Facts” worksheet. Remind the students that they are looking for the facts that make their president important to America.
  6. Take the students to the computer lab.
  7. Give the students time to conduct research and complete their research worksheets. This research can be conducted using the Internet or available texts.
  8. Collect the worksheets.

Session 4

  1. Distribute the “Presidential Facts” worksheets to each group from the previous session.
  2. Tell the students that they will be preparing a presentation for classmates about the president they researched. Using the “Presidential Presentation Roles” worksheet, explain each of the roles to the students and assign the roles. Each group member will have a designated role and serve as a Researcher as well.
  3. Review all of the expectations and responsibilities for the presentations listed on the “Presidential Presentation Roles” worksheet.
  4. Give the students time to work in their groups to prepare and practice their presentations. Provide as much guidance and modeling as needed.
  5. Make an overhead transparency of each of the “Presidential Facts” worksheets for use in Session 5.

Session 5

  1. Review the definition of democracy created in Session 1, and other facts learned about democracy.
  2. Allow one group to give its presentation. Encourage the other students to write positive comments about the presentation.
  3. Display the group’s “Presidential Facts” overhead transparency. Ask the students to discuss which of the presidential accomplishments they think are the most important and why.
  4. Take a vote by hand count of the president’s most important accomplishment.
  5. Have the other students share their positive comments about the presentation.
  6. Repeat steps 2 through 5 for each of the groups.
  7. Review the importance of each of the accomplishments chosen by vote.
  8. Tell the students that instead of accepting their votes, the most important accomplishment will be selected by the king (teacher) and that their votes do not count. Discuss with the students how they feel about having their power of voting taken away.
  9. Announce the students’ voted choice. Discuss with students the differences between a president and king, what they learned through this experience, and why voting is so important to democracy.

Differentiated Learning Options

  • Allow students to perform the “presidential presentation roles” in pairs.
  • Provide research texts and Internet sites at various instructional reading levels.

Enrichments/Extensions

  • Expand the activity to include other American presidents and/or other influential Americans.
  • Allow students to participate in a debate about the accomplishments of different presidents.
  • Research other types of governments.
  • Graph the results of the presidential accomplishments vote.
  • Take anecdotal notes about whether the students have met the lesson objectives.
  • Use the Presentation Checklist on the “Presidential Presentation Roles” worksheet to evaluate whether the students have met the lesson objectives.

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: L.2 Language
Grade(s): Grade 2
Cluster: Conventions of Standard English
Standards:

  • L.2.1. Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.
    • Use collective nouns (e.g., group).
    • Form and use frequently occurring irregular plural nouns (e.g., feet, children, teeth, mice, fish).
    • Use reflexive pronouns (e.g., myself, ourselves)
    • Form and use the past tense of frequently occurring irregular verbs (e.g., sat, hid, told).
    • Use adjectives and adverbs, and choose between them depending on what is to be modified.
    • Produce, expand, and rearrange complete simple and compound sentences (e.g., The boy watched the movie; The little boy watched the movie; The action movie was watched by the little boy).
  • L.2.2. Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.
    • Capitalize holidays, product names, and geographic names.
    • Use commas in greetings and closings of letters.
    • Use an apostrophe to form contractions and frequently occurring possessives.
    • Generalize learned spelling patterns when writing words (e.g., cage --> badge; boy --> boil).
    • Consult reference materials, including beginning dictionaries, as needed to check and correct spellings.

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: L.3 Language
Grade(s): Grade 2
Cluster: Conventions of Standard English
Standards:

  • L.3.1. Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.
    • Explain the function of nouns, pronouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs in general and their functions in particular sentences.
    • Form and use regular and irregular plural nouns.
    • Use abstract nouns (e.g., childhood).
    • Form and use regular and irregular verbs.
    • Form and use the simple (e.g., I walked; I walk; I will walk) verb tenses.
    • Ensure subject-verb and pronoun-antecedent agreement.
    • Form and use comparative and superlative adjectives and adverbs, and choose between them depending on what is to be modified.
    • Use coordinating and subordinating conjunctions.
    • Produce simple, compound, and complex sentences.
  • L.3.2. Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.
    • Capitalize appropriate words in titles.
    • Use commas in addresses.
    • Use commas and quotation marks in dialogue.
    • Form and use possessives.
    • Use conventional spelling for high-frequency and other studied words and for adding suffixes to base words (e.g., sitting, smiled, cries, happiness).
    • Use spelling patterns and generalizations (e.g., word families, position-based spellings, syllable patterns, ending rules, meaningful word parts) in writing words.
    • Consult reference materials, including beginning dictionaries, as needed to check and correct spellings.

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: SL.2 Speaking and Listening
Grade(s): Grade 2
Cluster: Comprehension and Collaboration
Standards:

  • SL.2.1. Participate in collaborative conversations with diverse partners about grade 2 topics and texts with peers and adults in small and larger groups.
    • Follow agreed-upon rules for discussions (e.g., gaining the floor in respectful ways, listening to others with care, speaking one at a time about the topics and texts under discussion).
    • Build on others’ talk in conversations by linking their comments to the remarks of others.
    • Ask for clarification and further explanation as needed about the topics and texts under discussion.
  • SL.2.2. Recount or describe key ideas or details from a text read aloud or information presented orally or through other media.
  • SL.2.3. Ask and answer questions about what a speaker says in order to clarify comprehension, gather additional information, or deepen understanding of a topic or issue. 

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: SL.2 Speaking and Listening
Grade(s): Grade 2
Cluster: Presentation of Knowledge and Ideas
Standards:

  • SL.2.4. Tell a story or recount an experience with appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details, speaking audibly in coherent sentences.
  • SL.2.5. Create audio recordings of stories or poems; add drawings or other visual displays to stories or recounts of experiences when appropriate to clarify ideas, thoughts, and feelings.
  • SL.2.6. Produce complete sentences when appropriate to task and situation in order to provide requested detail or clarification. (See grade 2 Language standards 1 and 3 for specific expectations.

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: SL.3 Speaking and Listening
Grade(s): Grade 2
Cluster: Comprehension and Collaboration
Standards:

  • SL.3.1. Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 3 topics and texts, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.
    • Come to discussions prepared, having read or studied required material; explicitly draw on that preparation and other information known about the topic to explore ideas under discussion.
    • Follow agreed-upon rules for discussions (e.g., gaining the floor in respectful ways, listening to others with care, speaking one at a time about the topics and texts under discussion).
    • Ask questions to check understanding of information presented, stay on topic, and link their comments to the remarks of others.
    • Explain their own ideas and understanding in light of the discussion.
  • SL.3.2. Determine the main ideas and supporting details of a text read aloud or information presented in diverse media and formats, including visually, quantitatively, and orally.
  • SL.3.3. Ask and answer questions about information from a speaker, offering appropriate elaboration and detail.
  • SL.3.4. Report on a topic or text, tell a story, or recount an experience with appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details, speaking clearly at an understandable pace.
  • SL.3.5. Create engaging audio recordings of stories or poems that demonstrate fluid reading at an understandable pace; add visual displays when appropriate to emphasize or enhance certain facts or details.
  • SL.3.6. Speak in complete sentences when appropriate to task and situation in order to provide requested detail or clarification. (See grade 3 Language standards 1 and 3 here for specific expectations.) 

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: RL.2 Reading: Informational Text
Grade(s): Grade 2
Cluster: Key Ideas and Details
Standards:

  • RI.2.1. Ask and answer such questions as who, what, where, when, why, and how to demonstrate understanding of key details in a text.
  • RI.2.2. Identify the main topic of a multi-paragraph text as well as the focus of specific paragraphs within the text.
  • RI.2.3. Describe the connection between a series of historical events, scientific ideas or concepts, or steps in technical procedures in a text. 

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: RL.2 Reading: Informational Text
Grade(s): Grade 2
Cluster: Integration of Knowledge and Ideas
Standards:

  • RI.2.7. Explain how specific images (e.g., a diagram showing how a machine works) contribute to and clarify a text.
  • RI.2.8. Describe how reasons support specific points the author makes in a text.
  • RI.2.9. Compare and contrast the most important points presented by two texts on the same topic.

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: RL.2 Reading: Informational Text
Grade(s): Grade 2
Cluster: Craft and Structure
Standards:

  • RI.2.4. Determine the meaning of words and phrases in a text relevant to a grade 2 topic or subject area.
  • RI.2.5. Know and use various text features (e.g., captions, bold print, subheadings, glossaries, indexes, electronic menus, icons) to locate key facts or information in a text efficiently.
  • RI.2.6. Identify the main purpose of a text, including what the author wants to answer, explain, or describe.

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: RL.3 Reading: Informational Text
Grade(s): Grade 2
Cluster: Craft and Structure
Standards:

  • RI.3.4. Determine the meaning of general academic and domain-specific words and phrases in a text relevant to a grade 3 topic or subject area.
  • RI.3.5. Use text features and search tools (e.g., key words, sidebars, hyperlinks) to locate information relevant to a given topic efficiently.
  • RI.3.6. Distinguish their own point of view from that of the author of a text.

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: RL.3 Reading: Informational Text
Grade(s): Grade 2
Cluster: Integration of Knowledge and Ideas
Standards:

  • RI.3.7. Use information gained from illustrations (e.g., maps, photographs) and the words in a text to demonstrate understanding of the text (e.g., where, when, why, and how key events occur).
  • RI.3.8. Describe the logical connection between particular sentences and paragraphs in a text (e.g., comparison, cause/effect, first/second/third in a sequence).
  • RI.3.9. Compare and contrast the most important points and key details presented in two texts on the same topic.

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: RL.3 Reading: Informational Text
Grade(s): Grade 2
Cluster: Key Ideas and Details
Standards:

  • RI.3.1. Ask and answer questions to demonstrate understanding of a text, referring explicitly to the text as the basis for the answers.
  • RI.3.2. Determine the main idea of a text; recount the key details and explain how they support the main idea.
  • RI.3.3. Describe the relationship between a series of historical events, scientific ideas or concepts, or steps in technical procedures in a text, using language that pertains to time, sequence, and cause/effect.

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: W.2 Writing
Grade(s): Grade 2
Cluster: Research to Build and Present Knowledge
Standards:

  • W.2.7. Participate in shared research and writing projects (e.g., read a number of books on a single topic to produce a report; record science observations).
  • W.2.8. Recall information from experiences or gather information from provided sources to answer a question.
  • W.2.9. begins in grade 4.

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: W.3 Writing
Grade(s): Grade 2
Cluster: Research to Build and Present Knowledge
Standards:

  • W.3.7. Conduct short research projects that build knowledge about a topic.
  • W.3.8. Recall information from experiences or gather information from print and digital sources; take brief notes on sources and sort evidence into provided categories.
  • W.3.9. begins in grade 4.

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: All Language Arts Standards
Cluster: Using Technological Information
Grade(s): Grades K–12
Standards:

  • Students use a variety of technological and information resources (e.g., libraries, databases, computer networks, video) to gather and synthesize information and to create and communicate knowledge.

Discipline: Technology
Domain: All Research and Information Fluency
Cluster: Students apply digital tools to gather, evaluate, and use information.
Grade(s): Grades K–12
Standards:

  • Plan strategies to guide inquiry
  • Locate, organize, analyze, evaluate, synthesize, and ethically use information from a variety of sources and media
  • Evaluate and select information sources and digital tools based on the appropriateness to specific tasks
  • Process data and report results

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: All Language Arts Standards
Cluster: Use of Spoken, Written, and Visual Language
Grade(s): Grades K–12
Standards:

  • Students use spoken, written, and visual language to accomplish their own purposes (e.g., for learning, enjoyment, persuasion, and the exchange of information).

Discipline: Social Studies
Domain: All Disciplinary Standards
Cluster: History
Grade(s): Grades K–12
Standards:

Teachers should:

  • assist learners in utilizing chronological thinking so that they can distinguish between past, present, and future time; can place historical narratives in the proper chronological framework; can interpret data presented in time lines; and can compare alternative models for periodization
  • enable learners to develop historical comprehension in order that they might reconstruct the literal meaning of a historical passage, identify the central question(s) addressed in historical narrative, draw upon data in historical maps, charts, and other graphic organizers; and draw upon visual, literary, or musical sources
  • guide learners in practicing skills of historical analysis and interpretation, such as compare and contrast, differentiate between historical facts and interpretations, consider multiple perspectives, analyze cause and effect relationships, compare competing historical narratives, recognize the tentative nature of historical interpretations, and hypothesize the influence of the past; help learners understand how historians study history;
  • assist learners in developing historical research capabilities that enable them to formulate historical questions, obtain historical data, question historical data, identify the gaps in available records, place records in context, and construct sound historical interpretations
  • help learners to identify issues and problems in the past, recognize factors contributing to such problems, identify and analyze alternative courses of action, formulate a position or course of action, and evaluate the implementation of that decision
  • assist learners in acquiring knowledge of historical content in United States history in order to ask large and searching questions that compare patterns of continuity and change in the history and values of the many peoples who have contributed to the development of the continent of North America
  • guide learners in acquiring knowledge of the history and values of diverse civilizations throughout the world, including those of the West, and in comparing patterns of continuity and change in different parts of the world
  • enable learners to develop historical understanding through the avenues of
  • social, political, economic, and cultural history and the history of science and technology

Discipline: Social Studies
Domain: All Thematic Standards
Cluster: Civic Ideals and Practices
Grade(s): Grades K–12
Standards:

Teachers should:

  • assist learners in understanding the origins and continuing influence of key ideals of the democratic republican form of government, such as individual human dignity, liberty, justice, equality, and the rule of law
  • guide learner efforts to identify, analyze, interpret, and evaluate sources and examples of citizens’ rights and responsibilities
  • facilitate learner efforts to locate, access, analyze, organize, synthesize, evaluate, and apply information about selected public issues—identifying, describing, and evaluating multiple points of view and taking reasoned positions on such issues
  • provide opportunities for learners to practice forms of civic discussion and participation consistent with the ideals of citizens in a democratic republic
  • help learners to analyze and evaluate the influence of various forms of citizen action on public policy
  • prepare learners to analyze a variety of public policies and issues from the perspective of formal and informal political actors
  • guide learners as they evaluate the effectiveness of public opinion in influencing and shaping public policy development and decision-making
  • encourage learner efforts to evaluate the degree to which public policies and citizen behaviors reflect or foster the stated ideals of a democratic republican form of government
  • support learner efforts to construct policy statements and action plans to achieve goals related to issues of public concern
  • create opportunities for learner participation in activities to strengthen the “common good,” based upon careful evaluation of possible options for citizen action