Teacher Sign Up
Sign In
Make a Top 10 Presidential List

Students will conduct research to learn about the life of a U.S. president. They will compile a list of 10 fascinating or lesser known facts about that president. They will write an essay explaining why they think people would find those facts to be surprising.

PROCESS: 

  1. Challenge students to compile a chronological list of all U.S. presidents. Fill in any presidents that students may have missed. Then encourage students to share well-known facts they know about each president.
  2. In small groups, with a partner or on their own, have students select one president. Instruct them to conduct research to learn more about the president's life. Challenge them to compile a list of 10 fascinating or lesser known facts about that president that may surprise people.
  3.  Once students have completed their lists, have them write a brief essay. Instruct them to identify the fact that surprised them the most and explain why they think people would be surprised by each of the facts they uncovered.

ASSESSMENT: 

Have students share their lists with the class. After all facts have been revealed, instruct each student to write his or her favorite fact on a piece of paper. Tally the results to create a classroom list of the 10 most surprising presidential facts for Presidents' Day.

CUSTOMIZE THE LESSON:

Grades 3-4:
Divide the class into small groups. Assign each group one president. As students conduct research, provide assistance as needed. Challenge each group to compile a list of 10 facts about their assigned president. Instruct group members to work together to write their essay.
Grades 5-6:
Divide the class into small groups. Instruct each group to select a president. There can be repeats. Give students time to conduct research to compile a list of 10 facts about their selected president. Once a group's list is complete, have each group member write a brief essay. Instruct students to identify the fact that surprised them the most and explain why they think people would be surprised by each fact on the group's list.
Grades 7-8:
Divide the class into pairs. Instruct each pair to select a president. There can be repeats. Give partners time to conduct research to compile a list of 10 facts about their selected president. Instruct them to include items relating to the president's childhood, education, family life and presidency. When their list is complete, have partners work together to write a brief essay. Instruct them to identify the fact that surprised each partner the most. Challenge them to explain why they think people would be surprised by each fact they uncovered. 
Grades 9-10:
Instruct each student to select a president. There can be repeats. Have students conduct research to compile a list of 10 facts relating to the childhood, education, family life, personality and presidency of their selected president. Challenge them to identify a credible source for each fact they include. Then have students write a brief essay. Encourage them to identify the fact that surprised them the most and explain why they think people would be surprised by each fact on their list.