History is often a difficult subject to teach. Students frequently
have a hard time understanding how something that happened long
before they were born can affect them today. This can make incorporating
President's Day themes into your classroom especially difficult.
Here are some ideas that you can try to get students revved up
about President's day.
1. Who is your favorite president?
Most students are familiar with Mount Rushmore, though you may
have to introduce it to younger students. Have students write
a report on the four presidents they think should be up on the
2. Presidents on the money
Students know the importance of money, but they may not know
the history behind it. Take a look at different coins and/or bills
and see which presidents are featured on them. Older students
can be assigned a coin to research to see how the face of money
has changed throughout the years.
3. Dear Mr. President
We live in a country that was built by the people, for the people. As the head
of the country, the president's job is to make the changes that
the people want and/or need. Is there something that students
want to see happen or something about the president they would
like to know? Have them practice their letter writing skills by
writing a letter to the president himself.
4. A log cabin for the president
Students may enjoy hearing about how President Lincoln grew up
in poverty in a log cabin. Student can build their own log cabin
(either on paper for younger students or in 3D for older students)
using twigs, popsicle sticks, or other craft items.
5. Remember the presidents
While many students may only have seen one or two presidents
during their lifetime, their parents, grandparents, or other adults
in their life will remember several. Have them interview an adult
and find interesting facts that the person remembers about different
presidents that they have seen in office.
6. Tour the president's home
If you are lucky enough to live near one of the president's
houses, you can see about taking your students on a field trip
to see it live and in person. Otherwise, many of the historical
societies have placed virtual tours online. Have students take
the tours and compare how the presidents lived then to how they
7. How well do you know your presidents?
Design a matching game for students. Younger students can try
to identify presidents by matching names to pictures, while older
students can match names to fun facts.
8. Mock election
When learning about the presidents, it is also a good time to
introduce the democratic process. One way to do this is to hold
mock elections. You can divide the class into democrat and republican
parties, have the teams elect a member to be their candidate,
and create campaigns or host debates. At the end, you can hold
your own secret ballot to see which candidate won. Depending on
the age of your students, you can have teams debate actual issues,
like school budgets, or fun ones, like if gum should be allowed
9. The White House is a zoo!
There have been some interesting White House pets throughout
the years. Have students take a look at who these presidential
companions were. Besides the traditional cat and dog, White House
pets have included goats and turkeys!
10. White House kids
While many people know the current president, they may not be
as familiar with the families that support them. Have students
research the children who have spent part of their time in the
White House, and write a paper on what they imagine living in
the White House would be like.
The difficult aspect about history is making it come alive for
your students. Once you are able to do that, they will never look
at President's Day the same!