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Showcase Presidential Homes

Students will select one U.S. president and conduct research to learn about a home that person lived in at some point in his life. They will compile photos and information to create a class book on presidential homes.

PROCESS:

  1. In groups, pairs or on their own, have students pick one U.S. president. Review student's selections to ensure there are no repeats.
  2. Instruct students to conduct research to identify a home where their president once lived. Point out that this can be a boyhood home or somewhere the president lived as an adult. It does not have to be a permanent residence, but may, as in the case of Harry S. Truman's "Little White House," be a home where the president stayed for extended periods of time while in office. If students struggle to find information, suggest that they investigate one of the presidential home sites preserved by the National Park Service.
  3. Give students time to conduct research to learn all about this home. Instruct them to identify where the home is located, when it was built, what it looked like and when the president stayed there. If the home is still standing, encourage them to find out if it is registered as a historic site.
  4. Have students download at least one image of their president's home and write a brief informational essay about the residence. Encourage them to compile their information into a one-page fact sheet. As a class, combine the fact sheets to create a classroom scrapbook or digital presentation on presidential homes.

ASSESSMENT: 

Invite students to share their fact sheets with the class. After each presentation, encourage classmates to share what they learned about the president after hearing about his home. Challenge students to identify ways in which the president's home life could have impacted his priorities or performance while serving as president.

CUSTOMIZE THE LESSON:     

Grades 3-4:
Have students complete the activity in small groups. Instruct groups to find one good photo of their president's home. Have them also pinpoint the home's location on a U.S. map. 

Grades 5-6:
Have students complete the activity in small groups. Instruct groups to find both exterior and interior photos of their president's home. Tell them to write a caption for each photo. Challenge groups to include details that link to each photo as they write their essays. 

Grades 7-8:
Have students complete the activity in pairs. Instruct partners to find both exterior and interior photos of their president's home. Tell them to write a caption for each photo and to include details that link to each photo in their essays. Encourage them to also include details that explain why this home was special to that president.

Grades 9-10:
Have students complete the activity in pairs. Instruct partners to find both exterior and interior photos of their president's home. Tell them to write a caption for each photo and to include details that link to each photo in their essays. If the president used this home while in office, challenge students to give examples of how the home was used. Was it an unofficial White House or simply a place the president could go to rest? If the house was a boyhood home, challenge students to provide details that explain how living in that home helped shape the president's life.