skip navigation
Left Navigation Links

 

Presidential Gallery

Printable view

Summary

Students will identify the three branches of the federal government and their roles. Students will identify important events, issues and accomplishments in the term of one president, and an event that showed checks and balances at work.

Coin Type(s)

  • Dollar

Coin Program(s)

  • Presidential $1 Coin

Objectives

  • Students will identify the three branches of the federal government and their role in our government.
  • Students will identify important events and accomplishments in the life of one president of the United States.
  • Students will identify the major national issues and events faced by the president and evaluate an event in the president’ s administration that showed the system of checks and balances at work.

Major Subject Area Connections

  • Social Studies

Minor/supporting Subject Area Connections

  • Language Arts
  • Technology

Grades

  • Fourth grade
  • Fifth grade
  • Sixth grade

Class Time

Sessions: Three
Session Length: 45-60 minutes
Total Length: 121-150 minutes

Groupings

  • Whole group
  • Pairs
  • Individual work

Background Knowledge

Students should have a basic knowledge of:

  • President of the United States
  • Government
  • Constitution
  • Duties and responsibilities

Terms and Concepts

  • Obverse (front)
  • Checks and balances
  • Executive Branch
  • Legislative Branch
  • Judicial Branch
  • Ambassador
  • Separation of powers
  • Term
  • Commander-in-Chief
  • Treaty
  • Veto
  •  Cabinet

Materials

  • Copies of the worksheets attached to this lesson plan (see “Preparations”)
  • An image of a presidential $1 obverse from the Presidential $1 Coin Lesson Plan Resource Center at www.usmint.gov/kids/pres$1coin/LP/resources (see “Preparations”).
  • 1 overhead projector
  • 1 overhead transparency of the selected coin
  • 1 copy of an age-appropriate text that provides basic historical information about the branches of the government. For example:
    • Branches of the Government (Government in Action) by John Hamilton
    • The Story of the Constitution by Marilyn Prolman
    • The President and the Executive Branch by Tracie Egan
    • Shh! We’re Writing the Constitution by Jean Fritz
  • Copies of texts that provide basic historical information about the nation s ’presidents. For example:
    • First Facts About the Presidents by Elaine Pascoe
    • Mr. President: A Book of U.S. Presidents by George Sullivan
    • New Big Book of U.S. Presidents—A Young Reader’s Guide to the Presidency by
  • Todd Davis
  • Computers with Internet access and word processing
  • Card stock (81/2 X 11)
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Highlighters
  • Chart paper
  • Markers
  • Electronic or hard copy blanks for making trading cards, if used

Preparations

  • Make copies of the following:
    • “Presidential Information” worksheet (1 per student)
    • “Branches of US Government” worksheet (1 per student)
    • “Presidential Poster Rubric” sheet (1 per student)
  • Make an overhead transparency of one coin obverse from the Presidentail $1 Coin Lesson Plan Resource Center. If you choose to have the whole class research one president, this image should be of that president. If the class will research multiple presidents, choose one to model or use a president not in the selected group.
  • Decide which president or presidents to use for the lesson. If the whole class researches the same president, you might not want to make the posters at the end of the lesson. The focus for the early presidents (Washington through Monroe) may be the establishment of the new government and the defining of the roles of the different branches. The focus for the presidential terms occurring during the expansion of the country (John Q. Adams through Theodore Roosevelt) would be any changes in the role of the executive branch and the use of presidential powers. The selection of more modern presidents (William H. Taft through Barak Obama) may focus more on international concerns.
  • Locate an age-appropriate text that provides basic historical information about the branches of our government (see examples under “Materials”).
  • Locate age-appropriate texts that provide basic information about the nation’s presidents (see examples under “Materials”).
  • Arrange to use the school computer lab for two consecutive days.
  • Bookmark Internet sites that contain biographical information about the presidents selected.

Worksheets and Files

Lesson plan, worksheet(s), and rubric (if any) at www.usmint.gov/kids/teachers/lessonPlans/pdf/135.pdf.

Session 1

  1. Display the transparency of any presidential $1 coin obverse.
  2. Ask the students to examine it and tell you what they know about this picture. The students should be able to identify this as the obverse of a coin and that it depicts the particular president. T ell 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 of f ice and the number of that presidency.
  3. Ask the students to identify what the president of the United States does and what type of jobs and responsibilities the president has. Ask the students to recall the three branches of the government and which branch encompasses the office of the president. List the student responses on chart paper or the board.
  4. Distribute a “Branches of the US Government” worksheet. Tell the students to take notes during the reading on these worksheets, but only in the chart section. The essay section will be used on another day.
  5. Tell the students that the class will read a text about the branches of the federal government. Ask the students to listen for:
    • the name of each branch
    • the head of each branch
    • the duties and responsibilities of each branch
    • other important information
  6. Introduce the students to the selected text about the branches of the government. A s a group, preview the text. Read the text aloud to the students. Attend to unfamiliar vocabulary and concepts.
  7. During the reading, give the students time to make notes on their worksheets.
  8. After concluding the selected text, review the worksheet information and the following terms:
    • Ambassador—person who represents the U.S. in dealings with another country
    • Commander-in-chief—official head of the U.S. Military
    • Veto—to disapprove or reject a law
    • Treaty—formal agreement between countries
    • Cabinet—a group of persons who have been appointed by the president to head the executive departments of the government; they act as his official advisers
    • Checks and balances—the interaction of the branches of the federal government to ensure the balance of power between them.
    • Term—the period during which the person is in office.
  9. Collect the worksheets.

Session 2

  1. Review with the students the three branches of the federal government and the duties and responsibilities of each branch. Focus especially on the Executive Branch and the fact that the president is the head of this branch.
  2. Display the transparency of the coin obverse. Review the name of the president pictured on the coin. Ask the students to recall any other information they may know about this president. List their responses on chart paper.
  3. Tell the students whether they will be researching this particular president or different presidents. Distribute the “Presidential Information” worksheet.
  4. Tell the students that they are to fill in the information on the sheet from available texts or bookmarked Internet resources. In their research, the students should look for ways the president carried out the responsibilities of the Executive Branch and interacted with the other branches.
  5. Review with the students the meaning of the word “term.” Depending on the president(s) chosen, lead the students to look for activities that relate to the particular time period.
  6. Allow the students time to do their research.
  7. When they have finished their research, have the students work in pairs who researched the same president and share the information they found in their research. Have them decide which pieces of information are the most important. Have them choose one important event or accomplishment from the president’s childhood, three from during his presidency, and at least one that entails the duties and responsibilities of the presidency or the relationship between the Executive Branch and the other branches. Have them write their choices on their worksheet.
  8. Have the students highlight the items on the sheet that they think are the most important.
  9. Collect the sheets.

Session 3

  1. Distribute the “Presidential Information” and “Branches of the US Government” worksheets from the previous two sessions.
  2. Discuss the items that the students selected as most important on their worksheets. List the presidents on chart paper and write the students’ responses in the chart.
  3. Discuss which events show the president(s) carrying out the duties or responsibilities of the office. Emphasize any events that involved the relationships between the different branches, the separation of powers, or the use of checks and balances. These could include any important vetoes, impeachment proceedings, or appointments that affected any other branch. Circle these events or accomplishments on the chart.
  4. If necessary, allow students time to add any events on their “Presidential Information” sheets.
  5. Have the students write an essay on their “Branches of the US Government” worksheet. The essay should use an example from the administration of the president they researched and discussed in class to illustrate the system of checks and balances as shown by the interaction of the branches.
  6. If the class researched one president and they won’t be making the posters, collect the worksheets. Otherwise, continue with the next step.
  7. Explain to the students that they will be making a poster with the information from their worksheets on the president they researched.
  8. Distribute the “Presidential Poster Rubric.”
  9. If using computers, take the students to the computer lab. Allow the students time to complete their posters and print them on card stock. For extra credit, students who finish their posters early can make an additional poster for one branch of the government.
  10. Have the students complete the rubric.
  11. Collect the worksheets. Display the posters in a “Presidential Gallery” in your classroom. Invite other classes to tour the gallery, having students serve as guides.

Differentiated Learning Options

  • Have poster templates made up with illustrations or graphics already done.
  • Allow students to write instead of using computer.
  • Allow students to work in pairs.
  • Choose texts or Internet sites at different levels.
  • Provide a word bank (vocabulary list) on a wall chart so students can select words to fill in their “Branches of the US Government” chart.

Enrichments/Extensions

  • Have students create a multimedia presentation on their president using the information they researched.
  • Have students visit the home, museum, or library of their president. They can do this virtually or in person if it is accessible to the students.
  • Compare this coin with other coins that feature this president, if any. Make a timeline showing when these coins were first introduced. Research the backgrounds of these different coins at www.usmint.gov/kids and search on the name of the president.
  • Allow students to play the “Branches of Power” game in the Games area of www.usmint.gov/kids.
  • Use the South Dakota lesson plan from the 2006 50 State Quarters lesson plans at www.usmint.gov/kids/index.cfm?fileContents=teachers/lessonPlans/lesson_select.cfm&grade=3, one of its goals being to understand the accomplishments of various US presidents in history.
  • Use the “Presidential Poster Rubric” and the essay on the “Branches of the US Government” worksheet to evaluate whether the students have met the lesson objectives.
  • Use the “Presidential Information” sheet to evaluate the accuracy of the students’ research.

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: RL.6 Reading: Informational Text
Grade(s): Grade 6
Cluster: Key Ideas and Details
Standards:

  • RI.6.1. Cite textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.
  • RI.6.2. Determine a central idea of a text and how it is conveyed through particular details; provide a summary of the text distinct from personal opinions or judgments.
  • RI.6.3. Analyze in detail how a key individual, event, or idea is introduced, illustrated, and elaborated in a text (e.g., through examples or anecdotes).

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: RL.6 Reading: Informational Text
Grade(s): Grade 6
Cluster: Integration of Knowledge and Ideas
Standards:

  • RI.6.7. Integrate information presented in different media or formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively) as well as in words to develop a coherent understanding of a topic or issue.
  • RI.6.8. Trace and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, distinguishing claims that are supported by reasons and evidence from claims that are not.
  • RI.6.9. Compare and contrast one author’s presentation of events with that of another (e.g., a memoir written by and a biography on the same person).

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: W.4 Writing
Grade(s): Grade 6
Cluster: Text Types and Purposes
Standards:

  • W.4.1. Write opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons and information.
    • Introduce a topic or text clearly, state an opinion, and create an organizational structure in which related ideas are grouped to support the writer’s purpose.
    • Provide reasons that are supported by facts and details.
    • Link opinion and reasons using words and phrases (e.g., for instance, in order to, in addition).
    • Provide a concluding statement or section related to the opinion presented.
  • W.4.2. Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly.
    • Introduce a topic clearly and group related information in paragraphs and sections; include formatting (e.g., headings), illustrations, and multimedia when useful to aiding comprehension.
    • Develop the topic with facts, definitions, concrete details, quotations, or other information and examples related to the topic.
    • Link ideas within categories of information using words and phrases (e.g., another, for example, also, because).
    • Use precise language and domain-specific vocabulary to inform about or explain the topic.
    • Provide a concluding statement or section related to the information or explanation presented.
  • W.4.3. Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, descriptive details, and clear event sequences.
    • Orient the reader by establishing a situation and introducing a narrator and/or characters; organize an event sequence that unfolds naturally.
    • Use dialogue and description to develop experiences and events or show the responses of characters to situations.
    • Use a variety of transitional words and phrases to manage the sequence of events.
    • Use concrete words and phrases and sensory details to convey experiences and events precisely.
    • Provide a conclusion that follows from the narrated experiences or events.

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: W.6 Writing
Grade(s): Grade 6
Cluster: Research to Build and Present Knowledge
Standards:

  • W.6.7. Conduct short research projects to answer a question, drawing on several sources and refocusing the inquiry when appropriate.
  • W.6.8. Gather relevant information from multiple print and digital sources; assess the credibility of each source; and quote or paraphrase the data and conclusions of others while avoiding plagiarism and providing basic bibliographic information for sources.
  • W.6.9. Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.
    • Apply grade 6 Reading standards to literature (e.g., “Compare and contrast texts in different forms or genres [e.g., stories and poems; historical novels and fantasy stories] in terms of their approaches to similar themes and topics”).
    • Apply grade 6 Reading standards to literary nonfiction (e.g., “Trace and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, distinguishing claims that are supported by reasons and evidence from claims that are not”).

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: W.5 Writing
Grade(s): Grade 6
Cluster: Text Types and Purposes
Standards:

  • W.5.1. Write opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons and information.
    • Introduce a topic or text clearly, state an opinion, and create an organizational structure in which ideas are logically grouped to support the writer’s purpose.
    • Provide logically ordered reasons that are supported by facts and details.
    • Link opinion and reasons using words, phrases, and clauses (e.g., consequently, specifically).
    • Provide a concluding statement or section related to the opinion presented.
  • W.5.2. Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly.
    • Introduce a topic clearly, provide a general observation and focus, and group related information logically; include formatting (e.g., headings), illustrations, and multimedia when useful to aiding comprehension.
    • Develop the topic with facts, definitions, concrete details, quotations, or other information and examples related to the topic.
    • Link ideas within and across categories of information using words, phrases, and clauses (e.g., in contrast, especially).
    • Use precise language and domain-specific vocabulary to inform about or explain the topic.
    • Provide a concluding statement or section related to the information or explanation presented.
  • W.5.3. Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, descriptive details, and clear event sequences.
    • Orient the reader by establishing a situation and introducing a narrator and/or characters; organize an event sequence that unfolds naturally.
    • Use narrative techniques, such as dialogue, description, and pacing, to develop experiences and events or show the responses of characters to situations.
    • Use a variety of transitional words, phrases, and clauses to manage the sequence of events.
    • Use concrete words and phrases and sensory details to convey experiences and events precisely.
    • Provide a conclusion that follows from the narrated experiences or events.

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: L.4 Language
Grade(s): Grade 6
Cluster: Conventions of Standard English
Standards:

  • L.4.1. Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.
    • Use relative pronouns (who, whose, whom, which, that) and relative adverbs (where, when, why).
    • Form and use the progressive (e.g., I was walking; I am walking; I will be walking) verb tenses.
    • Use modal auxiliaries (e.g., can, may, must) to convey various conditions.
    • Order adjectives within sentences according to conventional patterns (e.g., a small red bag rather than a red small bag).
    • Form and use prepositional phrases.
    • Produce complete sentences, recognizing and correcting inappropriate fragments and run-ons.
    • Correctly use frequently confused words (e.g., to, too, two; there, their).
  • L.4.2. Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.
    • Use correct capitalization.
    • Use commas and quotation marks to mark direct speech and quotations from a text.
    • Use a comma before a coordinating conjunction in a compound sentence.
    • Spell grade-appropriate words correctly, consulting references as needed.

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: L.5 Language
Grade(s): Grade 6
Cluster: Conventions of Standard English
Standards:

  • L.5.1. Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.
    • Explain the function of conjunctions, prepositions, and interjections in general and their function in particular sentences.
    • Form and use the perfect (e.g., I had walked; I have walked; I will have walked) verb tenses.
    • Use verb tense to convey various times, sequences, states, and conditions.
    • Recognize and correct inappropriate shifts in verb tense.
    • Use correlative conjunctions (e.g., either/or, neither/nor).
  • L.5.2. Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.
    • Use punctuation to separate items in a series.
    • Use a comma to separate an introductory element from the rest of the sentence.
    • Use a comma to set off the words yes and no (e.g., Yes, thank you), to set off a tag question from the rest of the sentence (e.g., It’s true, isn’t it?), and to indicate direct address (e.g., Is that you, Steve?).
    • Use underlining, quotation marks, or italics to indicate titles of works.
    • Spell grade-appropriate words correctly, consulting references as needed.

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: L.6 Language
Grade(s): Grade 6
Cluster: Conventions of Standard English
Standards:

  • L.6.1. Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.
    • Ensure that pronouns are in the proper case (subjective, objective, possessive).
    • Use intensive pronouns (e.g., myself, ourselves).
    • Recognize and correct inappropriate shifts in pronoun number and person.
    • Recognize and correct vague pronouns (i.e., ones with unclear or ambiguous antecedents).
    • Recognize variations from standard English in their own and others' writing and speaking, and identify and use strategies to improve expression in conventional language.
  • L.6.2. Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.
    • Use punctuation (commas, parentheses, dashes) to set off nonrestrictive/parenthetical elements.
    • Spell correctly.

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: RL.4 Reading: Informational Text
Grade(s): Grade 6
Cluster: Craft and Structure
Standards:

  • RI.4.4. Determine the meaning of general academic and domain-specific words or phrases in a text relevant to a grade 4 topic or subject area.
  • RI.4.5. Describe the overall structure (e.g., chronology, comparison, cause/effect, problem/solution) of events, ideas, concepts, or information in a text or part of a text.
  • RI.4.6. Compare and contrast a firsthand and secondhand account of the same event or topic; describe the differences in focus and the information provided.

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: RL.4 Reading: Informational Text
Grade(s): Grade 6
Cluster: Integration of Knowledge and Ideas
Standards:

  • RI.4.7. Interpret information presented visually, orally, or quantitatively (e.g., in charts, graphs, diagrams, time lines, animations, or interactive elements on Web pages) and explain how the information contributes to an understanding of the text in which it appears.
  • RI.4.8. Explain how an author uses reasons and evidence to support particular points in a text.
  • RI.4.9. Integrate information from two texts on the same topic in order to write or speak about the subject knowledgeably.

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: RL.5 Reading: Informational Text
Grade(s): Grade 6
Cluster: Craft and Structure
Standards:

  • RI.5.4. Determine the meaning of general academic and domain-specific words and phrases in a text relevant to a grade 5 topic or subject area.
  • RI.5.5. Compare and contrast the overall structure (e.g., chronology, comparison, cause/effect, problem/solution) of events, ideas, concepts, or information in two or more texts.
  • RI.5.6. Analyze multiple accounts of the same event or topic, noting important similarities and differences in the point of view they represent.

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: RL.5 Reading: Informational Text
Grade(s): Grade 6
Cluster: Key Ideas and Details
Standards:

  • RI.5.1. Quote accurately from a text when explaining what the text says explicitly and when drawing inferences from the text.
  • RI.5.2. Determine two or more main ideas of a text and explain how they are supported by key details; summarize the text.
  • RI.5.3. Explain the relationships or interactions between two or more individuals, events, ideas, or concepts in a historical, scientific, or technical text based on specific information in the text.

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: RL.6 Reading: Informational Text
Grade(s): Grade 6
Cluster: Craft and Structure
Standards:

  • RI.6.4. Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative, connotative, and technical meanings.
  • RI.6.5. Analyze how a particular sentence, paragraph, chapter, or section fits into the overall structure of a text and contributes to the development of the ideas.
  • RI.6.6. Determine an author’s point of view or purpose in a text and explain how it is conveyed in the text.

This lesson plan is not associated with any National Standards.