Years ago I create this unit for President's Day. I wanted to give my students some real "meat" during social studies. I was guilty of teaching social studies in a very shallow way. I wanted to help my students really understand what the president does. I wanted to up the rigor a bit too and make it cross-curricular. I recently gave this unit a little facelift (it was originally created in Word-EEK) and it's been a long time since I first blogged about it, so I thought it was time to show it again. My students loved this unit!
We start by filling out this anticipation guide before reading the book If I Were President.
After reading about this book, we fill out the right side of this page. As the unit progresses, we dive deeper into these questions.
This is a favorite from the unit. There are two different versions of this: a country version and a classroom version. In both, students are given money and must decide how much to give to each group. Then you can follow up with a writing activity where the students need to articulate why they chose certain groups over others. Opinion writing- Boom!
Next, students discuss what makes a good leader. Students will write about a person who they believe would make a good leader for their "cabinet" or for another leadership position in the country.
Here, students learn that a president doesn't make the laws in our country. This is always eye-opening for kids because they see the president as the person who can do anything they want. With this activity, they learn that a president has a role to play in creating laws but cannot do it alone.
This next activity serves two purposes: to show the president as a diplomat and to exercise their problem solving skills. :)