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Investigate Presidential or Inaugural Traditions

Students will select a tradition associated with the U.S. president or the presidential inauguration, conduct research to learn about its history and brainstorm ideas about how tradition might be implemented during Donald Trump's upcoming inauguration and presidency. Then they will create a timeline to show what they learned.

PROCESS:

  1. Have students brainstorm a list of traditions associated with the U.S. president or the presidential inauguration. Encourage them to think about items, actions or even routines the president follows.
  2. Instruct students to select one tradition from the list. Tell them to conduct research to find out how and when the tradition originated. Encourage them to search for a picture that depicts this early connection.
  3. Have students examine how the tradition has evolved over time. Instruct them to identify pivotal moments in history that caused the tradition to change. Encourage them to find pictures depicting each example.
  4. Challenge students to identify one way they think the tradition will be implemented or possibly changed when Donald Trump is inaugurated or during or his time in office. Encourage students to draw a picture illustrating their ideas. 
  5. Have students use the information they collected to create a detailed timeline about the tradition they chose to investigate. 

ASSESSMENT: 

Invite students to present their timelines to the class. As they do, make a list of the items or events that led to the various traditions. Have students examine the final list. Tell them to sort the triggering items or events into categories such as popular culture, everyday objects or military actions. Evaluate the results. Challenge students to identify the category that led to the most presidential or inaugural traditions.

CUSTOMIZE THE LESSON: 

Grades 3-4:
Brainstorm a list of presidential or inaugural traditions as a class. Then have students complete the project in small groups. Encourage them to include at least three pivotal moments in history related to the tradition on their timelines.

Grades 5-6:
Brainstorm a list of presidential or inaugural traditions as a class. Then have students complete the project with a partner. Encourage them to include at least five pivotal moments in history related to the tradition on their timelines.

Grades 7-8:
Assign each student a partner. Instruct pairs to brainstorm ideas and select one presidential or inaugural tradition to investigate. Tell them to identify at least five pivotal moments in history related to the tradition. In addition to the basic information required, challenge students to uncover details that tell about the inspiration behind each change. Encourage students to be creative as they incorporate this information into their timelines.

Grades 9-10:
Assign each student a partner. Instruct pairs to brainstorm ideas and select one presidential or inaugural tradition to investigate. Tell them to identify as many pivotal moments in history related to the tradition as they can. In addition to the basic information required, challenge students to identify presidents who made changes, however slight they might be, to the tradition. Challenge them to discover why the presidents made the modifications. Encourage students to be creative as they incorporate this information into their timelines.