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History in the Making

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Summary

Students will make associations between a historical period, the office of the President of the United States, and foreign policy. They will diagram this connection and write an essay and present a team skit.

Coin Type(s)

  • Dollar

Coin Program(s)

  • Presidential $1 Coin

Objectives

  • Students will make associations between a historical period, the office of the President of the United States, and foreign policy.
  • Students will complete a diagram that illustrates this connection.
  • Students will write an essay as homework and present a skit in teams to the class.

Major Subject Area Connections

  • Social Studies

Minor/supporting Subject Area Connections

  • Language Arts
  • Technology

Grades

  • Seventh grade
  • Eighth grade

Class Time

Sessions: Five
Session Length: 45-60 minutes
Total Length: 151-500 minutes

Groupings

  • Whole group
  • Pairs
  • Individual work

Background Knowledge

Students should have a basic knowledge of:

  • President of the United States
  • Government
  • Constitution
  • Federal
  • Diplomat
  • Alliances

Terms and Concepts

  • Obverse (front)
  • Precedents
  • Duties of the President of the United States
  • Executive Branch
  • Foreign policy

Materials

  • Reference resources (including textbooks, library materials, and bookmarked Internet sites)
  • Copies of the worksheets attached to this lesson plan
  • 1 overhead projector
  • Age-appropriate texts (including student textbooks) that provide basic historical information about the nation’s presidents. For example:
    • Our Country’s Presidents by Ann Bausum
    • The Look-It-Up Book of Presidents by Wyatt Blassingame
    • Scholastic Encyclopedia of the Presidents and Their Times by David Rubel
  • Computers with Internet access
  • Chart paper
  • Markers

Preparations

  • Make copies of the following:
  • “History in the Making—Diagram” (1 per student)
  • “Project Rubric” (1 per student)
  • Make overhead transparencies of each of the following:
  • The obverse of the Washington presidential $1 coin from the Presidential $1 Coin Lesson Plan Resource Center at www.usmint.gov/kids/pres$1coin/LP/resources.
  • Any other presidential $1 coin obverses
  • “Excerpts—George Washington’s Farewell Address” worksheet
  • “History in the Making—Diagram”
  • “Project Rubric”
  • Locate age-appropriate texts (including the student textbooks) that provide basic historical information about the nation’s presidents (see examples under “Materials”).
  • Choose presidents to study based on a historical period, according to current curricular goals.
  • Arrange to use the school computer lab for one session.
  • Bookmark Internet sites that contain biographical information about the selected presidents.
  • Determine the criteria for the essay, such as length, format, and whether it is to be hand written or typed.

Worksheets and Files

Lesson plan, worksheet(s), and rubric (if any) at www.usmint.gov/kids/teachers/lessonPlans/pdf/68.pdf.

Session 1

  1. Ask the students on what kind of American money George Washington’s image has appeared. Student responses should include the dollar bill and the quarter. Display an overhead transparency of the Washington presidential $1 coin obverse.
  2. Tell the students that the very first dollar coin from the Presidential $1 Coin Program depicts George Washington because he was the first President of the United States. 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 dollar 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.
  3. Have the students, in pairs, discuss and record on notebook paper what they know about George Washington.
  4. As a whole class, share the students’ responses and record them on a class chart. Student responses should place President Washington in our history as Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army, first President of the United States, our nation’s founding father, and a framer of the Constitution. Guide the students to understand that Washington communicated that he had beliefs and aspirations about our growing nation, both domestically and internationally. As president, he represented the people and was bound to act in accordance with the Constitution.
  5. Explain to the students that, as the first President of the United States, George Washington faced many challenges and had to make many choices for our young nation. He was the first to decide how to do certain things (set precedents), including how the nation should interact with other nations (foreign policy).
  6. Ask the students to define foreign policy (guidelines for how a country handles political and economic interactions with other countries). Record the definition on a chart or the chalkboard.
  7. Tell the students that George Washington wrote a very powerful farewell address when he concluded his final term as president. Display the overhead transparency of “Excerpts—George Washington’s Farewell Address” and read it aloud to the students.
  8. Have the student pairs discuss and brainstorm about the foreign policy they can identify in George Washington’s Farewell Address. Have them record their thoughts on notebook paper and identify the aspects of the quotes that support their findings.
  9. Have the students share their responses with the whole class.  Note: Refer to “History in the Making—Washington Diagram Key” as you prepare for the next sessions.  At the end of Session 1, add the most important points from the class discussion to the “History in the Making—Diagram” overhead transparency. The transparency should now include the findings about the first president and the foreign policy of the time (first two columns). In Session 2, you will complete the “Historical Snapshot of the Time” column (third column).

Session 2

  1. Display the “History in the Making—Diagram” overhead transparency completed before this session. Explain the importance of placing the office of the president and policy in a historical background. For example, ask students what was happening in our young nation that might have inspired George Washington to arrive at his particular foreign policy. If necessary, suggest that the nation’s recent involvement in a war for independence may have affected Washington’s choice of foreign policy.
  2. Give each student a copy of the “History in the Making—Diagram.” Have the student pairs read their textbooks and record their findings about President Washington, his foreign policy, and the historical time. Instruct the students to make additions to their diagrams. Tell the students that they will be referring to these diagrams when they write an essay, and that the diagrams will be handed in with the essay.
  3. As a class, review the overhead transparency of the diagram, which you began to fill in using George Washington’s presidency as a model. Note: After Session 2, add the most important points from the class discussion and from the diagram key to the diagram overhead transparency. Your transparency should now include the findings about the first president, the foreign policy of the time, and the historical snapshot of the time.

Session 3

  1. Display the overhead transparency of the quotes from Washington’s Farewell Address. Review the definition of “foreign policy” in connection with this address. Ask the students what foreign policy has to do with the duties of the president and how those duties are assigned to the president.
  2. Have the student pairs read about the duties of the Executive Branch either in their textbooks or in a copy of the Constitution and summarize key phrases.
  3. As a class, share observations about these key phrases and record them on a class chart.
  4. Assign or have the students select a president to research. (Current curricular goals can form the basis of your selection of the time period.) Ask the students to keep George Washington in mind when selecting a president and his foreign policy. Remind the students that each president is symbolic of and representative of our nation and its particular time and place in history.
  5. Display the completed “History in the Making—Diagram” from Session 2 that the class developed.

Session 4

  1. Tell the students that they will use various resources, including textbooks, library materials, and bookmarked Internet sites, to write an essay that shows they understand the relationship between the president, foreign policy, and a time period in history.
  2. Distribute the “Project Rubric” to each student. As a class, review the rubric so the students have a clear understanding of the expectations for their essay.
  3. Take the students to the computer lab. Allow sufficient time for the students to gather information and begin writing their essay.
  4. As a homework assignment, have the students write the final essay on their selected or assigned president using the information on their diagram.

Session 5

  1. Collect the students’ essays and their “History in the Making—Diagram” worksheets.
  2. Have the students meet with other students who wrote about the same time period. Tell the students they will have 3 to 5 minutes to create a skit to present information about the time period to the class. For presentation ideas, suggest scenarios such as a press conference, a Cabinet meeting, or a public assembly.
  3. As a class, review the “Project Rubric.”
  4. Allow sufficient time for the students to prepare and present their presentations to the class.

Differentiated Learning Options

  • Have students work in pairs to research a chosen time period.
  • Have students use texts at various reading levels for their research materials.
  • Give the students extended time for gathering information and draft writing in Session 4.
  • Allow students to hand-write their essay or use a scribe rather than use the computer.

Enrichments/Extensions

  • Have students consider what the Statue of Liberty on the back of the presidential $1 coin symbolizes.
  • Have students research and present their findings about the symbolism on the quarter and on the one-dollar bill.
  • Have students write a research paper about the interaction between the president, his foreign policy, and his time in history.
  • Have students read about other dollar coins—Eisenhower, Susan B. Anthony, and Sacagawea on the Golden Dollar—at www.usmint.gov/kids/index.cfm?FileContents=/kids/coinnews/circulatingCoins/dollarCoin.cfm.

Technology Extensions

Allow students to play the “Branches of Power” game in the Games section of www.usmint.gov/kids.

  • Use the essay and the “History in the Making—Diagram” completed by each student to evaluate whether the student has met the lesson objectives.
  • Use the rubric to evaluate the essay and the skit.
There are no related resources for this lesson plan.

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: W.7 Writing
Grade(s): Grade 7
Cluster: Range of Writing
Standards:

  • W.7.10. Write routinely over extended time frames (time for research, reflection, and revision) and shorter time frames (a single sitting or a day or two) for a range of discipline-specific tasks, purposes, and audiences.

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: W.8 Writing
Grade(s): Grade 7
Cluster: Range of Writing
Standards:

  • W.8.10. Write routinely over extended time frames (time for research, reflection, and revision) and shorter time frames (a single sitting or a day or two) for a range of discipline-specific tasks, purposes, and audiences.

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: SL.7 Speaking and Listening
Grade(s): Grade 7
Cluster: Comprehension and Collaboration
Standards:

  • SL.7.1. Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 7 topics, texts, and issues, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.
    • Come to discussions prepared, having read or researched material under study; explicitly draw on that preparation by referring to evidence on the topic, text, or issue to probe and reflect on ideas under discussion.
    • Follow rules for collegial discussions, track progress toward specific goals and deadlines, and define individual roles as needed.
    • Pose questions that elicit elaboration and respond to others’ questions and comments with relevant observations and ideas that bring the discussion back on topic as needed.
    • Acknowledge new information expressed by others and, when warranted, modify their own views.
  • SL.7.2. Analyze the main ideas and supporting details presented in diverse media and formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively, orally) and explain how the ideas clarify a topic, text, or issue under study.
  • SL.7.3. Delineate a speaker’s argument and specific claims, evaluating the soundness of the reasoning and the relevance and sufficiency of the evidence.

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: SL.8 Speaking and Listening
Grade(s): Grade 7
Cluster: Comprehension and Collaboration
Standards:

  • SL.8.1. Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 8 topics, texts, and issues, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.
    • Come to discussions prepared having read or researched material under study; explicitly draw on that preparation by referring to evidence on the topic, text, or issue to probe and reflect on ideas under discussion.
    • Follow rules for collegial discussions and decision-making, track progress toward specific goals and deadlines, and define individual roles as needed.
    • Pose questions that connect the ideas of several speakers and respond to others’ questions and comments with relevant evidence, observations, and ideas.
    • Acknowledge new information expressed by others, and, when warranted, qualify or justify their own views in light of the evidence presented.
  • SL.8.2. Analyze the purpose of information presented in diverse media and formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively, orally) and evaluate the motives (e.g., social, commercial, political) behind its presentation.
  • SL.8.3. Delineate a speaker’s argument and specific claims, evaluating the soundness of the reasoning and relevance and sufficiency of the evidence and identifying when irrelevant evidence is introduced.

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: W.7 Writing
Grade(s): Grade 7
Cluster: Production and Distribution of Writing
Standards:

  • W.7.4. Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience. (Grade-specific expectations for writing types are defined in standards 1–3 above.)
  • W.7.5. With some guidance and support from peers and adults, develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach, focusing on how well purpose and audience have been addressed. (Editing for conventions should demonstrate command of Language standards 1–3 up to and including grade 7.)
  • W.7.6. Use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing and link to and cite sources as well as to interact and collaborate with others, including linking to and citing sources.

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: W.8 Writing
Grade(s): Grade 7
Cluster: Production and Distribution of Writing
Standards:

  • W.8.4. Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience. (Grade-specific expectations for writing types are defined in standards 1–3 above.)
  • W.8.5. With some guidance and support from peers and adults, develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach, focusing on how well purpose and audience have been addressed. (Editing for conventions should demonstrate command of Language standards 1–3 up to and including grade 8.)
  • W.8.6. Use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing and present the relationships between information and ideas efficiently as well as to interact and collaborate with others.

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: W.8 Writing
Grade(s): Grade 7
Cluster: Text Types and Purposes
Standards:

  • W.8.1. Write arguments to support claims with clear reasons and relevant evidence.
    • Introduce claim(s), acknowledge and distinguish the claim(s) from alternate or opposing claims, and organize the reasons and evidence logically.
    • Support claim(s) with logical reasoning and relevant evidence, using accurate, credible sources and demonstrating an understanding of the topic or text.
    • Use words, phrases, and clauses to create cohesion and clarify the relationships among claim(s), counterclaims, reasons, and evidence.
    • Establish and maintain a formal style.
    • Provide a concluding statement or section that follows from and supports the argument presented.
  • W.8.2. Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas, concepts, and information through the selection, organization, and analysis of relevant content.
    • Introduce a topic clearly, previewing what is to follow; organize ideas, concepts, and information into broader categories; include formatting (e.g., headings), graphics (e.g., charts, tables), and multimedia when useful to aiding comprehension.
    • Develop the topic with relevant, well-chosen facts, definitions, concrete details, quotations, or other information and examples.
    • Use appropriate and varied transitions to create cohesion and clarify the relationships among ideas and concepts.
    • Use precise language and domain-specific vocabulary to inform about or explain the topic.
    • Establish and maintain a formal style.
    • Provide a concluding statement or section that follows from and supports the information or explanation presented.
  • W.8.3. Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, relevant descriptive details, and well-structured event sequences.
    • Engage and orient the reader by establishing a context and point of view and introducing a narrator and/or characters; organize an event sequence that unfolds naturally and logically.
    • Use narrative techniques, such as dialogue, pacing, description, and reflection, to develop experiences, events, and/or characters.
    • Use a variety of transition words, phrases, and clauses to convey sequence, signal shifts from one time frame or setting to another, and show the relationships among experiences and events.
    • Use precise words and phrases, relevant descriptive details, and sensory language to capture the action and convey experiences and events.
    • Provide a conclusion that follows from and reflects on the narrated experiences or events.

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: L.7 Language
Grade(s): Grade 7
Cluster: Conventions of Standard English
Standards:

  • L.7.1. Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.
    • Explain the function of phrases and clauses in general and their function in specific sentences.
    • Choose among simple, compound, complex, and compound-complex sentences to signal differing relationships among ideas.
    • Place phrases and clauses within a sentence, recognizing and correcting misplaced and dangling modifiers.
  • L.7.2. Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.
    • Use a comma to separate coordinate adjectives (e.g., It was a fascinating, enjoyable movie but not He wore an old[,] green shirt).
    • Spell correctly.

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: L.8 Language
Grade(s): Grade 7
Cluster: Conventions of Standard English
Standards:

  • L.8.1. Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.
    • Explain the function of verbals (gerunds, participles, infinitives) in general and their function in particular sentences.
    • Form and use verbs in the active and passive voice.
    • Form and use verbs in the indicative, imperative, interrogative, conditional, and subjunctive mood.
    • Recognize and correct inappropriate shifts in verb voice and mood.
  • L.8.2. Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.
    • Use punctuation (comma, ellipsis, dash) to indicate a pause or break.
    • Use an ellipsis to indicate an omission.
    • Spell correctly.

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: RL.8 Reading: Informational Text
Grade(s): Grade 7
Cluster: Key Ideas and Details
Standards:

  • RI.8.1. Cite the textual evidence that most strongly supports an analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.
  • RI.8.2. Determine a central idea of a text and analyze its development over the course of the text, including its relationship to supporting ideas; provide an objective summary of the text.
  • RI.8.3. Analyze how a text makes connections among and distinctions between individuals, ideas, or events (e.g., through comparisons, analogies, or categories).

This lesson plan is not associated with any National Standards.