By Janet Pinto, Chief Academic Officer & Chief Marketing Officer, Curriki
For so many students, the President’s Day Holiday presents an opportunity to enjoy a long weekend in mid-February. But the true reason for the holiday is to honor the achievements of two of the United States’ greatest presidents – George Washington and Abraham Lincoln – and to examine the office itself.
President’s Day started as a day to honor the first president, George Washington, but when it was changed to the third Monday in February, a second president with a February birthday was added to the celebration – Abraham Lincoln, who is known for signing the emancipation proclamation which ended slavery.
Here are Curriki resources that teach about George Washington, the father of our country, the first president.
- George Washington: The Precedent President — In this lesson, one of a multi-part unit from EDSITEment, students look at important developments that occurred during George Washington’s tenure as the first President of the United States.
- Biography of George Washington — Learn about the life of America’s first president.
- Lesson Plans and Activities from George Washington’s Mount Vernon website.
- General George Washington, Military Leader — Using artifacts and a historical letter to discuss Washington’s leadership during the War of Independence and the qualities of great leaders. this lesson plan accompanies an exhibition “The Price of Freedom: Americans at War,” by the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History.
- Did George Washington Have Wooden Teeth? — This is a fun one! Join from a cherry tree to wooden teeth, Wonderopolis as it takes a look at some of the legends and myths surrounding the “Father of Our Country.”
Here are Curriki resources that teach about Abraham Lincoln, the 16th president of the United States:
- The Making of a President 1860. This comprehensive, well-made video from PBS will fill an entire class period and fill your students’ brains with knowledge about Lincoln’s life
- Where Was Abraham Lincoln Born? — Take a tour of Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historic Park in Hodgenville, KY, and learn about “Honest Abe’s” humble beginnings.
- Abraham Lincoln’s Crossroads: “Lincoln: The Constitution & the Civil War” Lesson Plan — Any study of Lincoln must, of course, focus on the Civil War, so the National Constitution Center offers an interesting classroom activity to support an online game and the nationally touring exhibition “Lincoln: The Constitution and the Civil War.” Middle- and high-school students learn about Lincoln’s leadership by exploring the political choices he made.
Abraham Lincoln on the American Union Unit — This unit from EDSITEment explores the political thought of Abraham Lincoln on the subject of American union. For him, the union represented the future of freedom in America—a future where slavery would eventually be eliminated and liberty protected as the birthright of every human being. Students will examine Lincoln’s three most famous speeches—the Gettysburg Address and his two Inaugural Addresses—to gain a better understanding of why Lincoln revered the union of the American states as “the last best, hope of earth.”
- America’s New Birth of Freedom: Documents from the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum — Was the Civil War worth the lives of more than 620,000 Americans? This online exhibition from the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History features a signed copy of the Emancipation Proclamation and 10 letters expressing Lincoln’s views on emancipation and the conclusion of the Civil War. Students will learn how Abraham Lincoln struggled with the same questions many Americans had about the causes and costs of the bloodiest struggle in American history.
- Assassination of Abraham Lincoln — History.com gives us articles, videos and interactive resources to help students better understand the assassination of Abraham Lincoln.
The Roles of the President
The Roles of the President Lesson Plan, for 12th graders, will help students define, explain, and demonstrate their understanding of the seven major roles of the President of the United States by creating a ‘packet’ and YouTube video, participating in an online iCivics game activity, and exploring each role at a “station’ devoted to that role.
Inaugural Addresses — Curriki offers the opportunity to read inaugural addresses of the presidents, from George Washington to Barack Obama.
The Presidency free app for iOS is an excellent reference for Elementary and Middle School students that gives them for easy access to historical information regarding the United States presidents, including birth and death dates, political party affiliations, years served in office, official presidential portrait, and official WhiteHouse.gov history describing the contributions of the President.
Learning About U.S. Presidents
Finally, Learning About U.S. Presidents lets students explore the lives of different United States Presidents, creating a presentation on the life of one specific President and any important events that their President was involved in.
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.