Get Behind the Wheel
Most middle school students are anxiously awaiting the time when they will legally be able to get behind the wheel of an automobile. This lesson from the Cooper-Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum taps into that interest by having middle school students design a dashboard for a car that will be marketed to the 16- to 23-year-old set.
So, You Want to Be President
Use this downloadable activity page from the Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access to test your students’ knowledge of the many jobs of the U.S. president. Students can also test their presidential knowledge with the quiz, “Who Was President When?”
Young America Lesson Plan: George Washington
In this lesson from the Smithsonian American Art Museum, students use a combination of artwork, everyday objects and primary resources to learn about George Washington’s life and leadership during and after the American Revolution.
Abraham Lincoln: An Extraordinary Life
This online exhibit from the National Museum of American History covers each major period in Abraham Lincoln’s private and public life, especially his years in Washington when he made the crucial decisions that ended slavery and preserved the nation. Digital versions of many of the objects in the Smithsonian’s Lincoln collection are included in the exhibit.
One Life: Ronald Reagan
This online exhibition from the National Portrait Gallery uses photographs and artwork to illustrate the evolution of Ronald Reagan’s life and beliefs as he rose from sportscaster to U.S. president.
The Death of Harrison
In this lesson plan from the National Portrait Gallery, students analyze portraits to learn of events surrounding the death of William Henry Harrison and John Tyler’s succession to the presidency. They apply their historical knowledge and analysis by writing newspaper articles that reflect their understanding of these events.
Presidents in Waiting
This online exhibition from the National Portrait Gallery takes a multimedia look at the fourteen vice presidents who went on to become president, whether by happenstance or by election in their own right. The site includes an interactive timeline and video interviews with former veeps Walter Mondale, George H.W. Bush, Dan Quayle and Dick Cheney.