By Janet Pinto, Chief Academic Officer & Chief Marketing Officer, Curriki
Last Friday, we saw departing President Barack Obama hand the leadership baton to Donald J. Trump, the 45th president of the United States of America, in a solemn ceremony in Washington, D.C., that has been repeated many times since George Washington’s inauguration.
The next day, millions of people marched in Washington and across the country (and the world) in non-violent protest of the Trump presidency and to declare their support for the rights of women, LGBT persons, immigrants and Muslims.
The timing of the two events presents a unique opportunity for educators and homeschoolers to examine both the role of the presidency, including inaugurations through history, and that of non-violent protest in eliciting change.
The inauguration of the President of the United States is a ceremony that marks the commencement of a new four-year term of a president. It happens at the western front of US Capitol on Jan. 20. The oath is usually administered by the Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, and the new president and vice president officially take office at noon.
Curriki offers several resources that explain presidential inaugurations.
- Inaugural Addresses of the Presidents presents complete inaugural addresses of every president from George Washington to Barack Obama.
- I Do Solemnly Swear Presidential Inaugurations, a website from the Library of Congress, is a collection of approximately 2,000 digital files relating to inaugurations.
The Role of the President
Curriki offers a curated collection of lessons and activities that help students grasp the complex responsibilities and roles of the Executive Branch of the U.S. Government.
- The President’s Job helps students review the role of the presidency by using objects, images and documents.
- Defining the Presidency helps students learn about the Continental Congress, the Constitutional Convention, and the election of our first president, George Washington.
- The Women’s March on Washington the day after the inauguration – as well as 386 sister marches held in other cities across America – invites us to take a look at the historical role of nonviolent protest on government action.
- The mission of the march, according to the Women’s March on Washington website, was: “In the spirit of democracy and honoring the champions of human rights, dignity, and justice who have come before us, we join in diversity to show our presence in numbers too great to ignore.
“The Women’s March on Washington will send a bold message to our new government on their first day in office, and to the world, that women’s rights are human rights. We stand together, recognizing that defending the most marginalized among us is defending all of us.”
For educators and homeschoolers, the women’s marches present an opportunity to teach about democracy’s basic principles. The grassroots protests can ignite interesting debate in the classroom, as well as a lesson in the history and effectiveness of non-violent protest.
- The President’s Roles and Responsibilities: Communicating with the President, a collection of two lessons from EDSITEment, encourages students to consider the roles and responsibilities of the U.S. president and their own roles as citizens of a democracy.
- Protest Signs examines protest signs as a powerful and important way for people to express their feelings, as children compare 2 protest signs from the civil rights movement and then create their own expressive poster. It is included in an OurStory module entitled Students Sit for Civil Rights, by the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History.
Janet Pinto, Chief Academic Officer & Chief Marketing Officer, leads and manages all of Curriki’s content development, user experience and academic direction. Learn more at Curriki.org.