Hi Amy, I love this lesson plan. It sounds like a lot of fun. Can you just fix the asset link for me? I'd love to see the video. Also, as a cross-curricular extension, there is a museum building activity as part of Science Explorations for lizards and snakes: http://teacher.scholastic.com/... Thanks! Stav
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By acting as curators for their own Presidential Museum exhibit, students answer the question. "Who is the person behind the presidency?"
1. Research a President in order to curate their own museum exhibit.
2. Personify a past or current president through a combination of research, writing, and performance.
3. Contextualize a past or current president's experience with historical events and primary sources.
With your students in charge, Presidential museums are sure to be dynamic adventures that inspire as they impart history. Getting started and researching (Days 1-4)1. As a whole class, watch the Scholastic Presidential Portrait Gallery Slideshow featuring winning artwork by kids (see "assets" tab).
Now that students across the country have created presidential portraits, tell your class they are going to take the next step. They will be curating their own museum exhibit on one of these presidents.
2. Lead a short discussion about what can make a museum exhibit lively, fascinating, and fun ? and what results in a boring, staid, sleepy museum experience. Show the short Lincoln Museum video (see "assets" tab) as one example of how a museum can make history exciting.
3. Break class into small groups (three students per group is recommended) and assign Presidents (depending on your curriculum, you may want to select a number of relevant Presidents or you may want all groups to focus on one President).
Within their groups, students should brainstorm a list of questions to investigate. Here are a few ideas to get started:
- Where was this President born? In what year?
- Where did this President grow up?
- What path did this President follow to enter into politics?
- What is this President known for?
- What significant historical events occurred during the presidency?
4. Have student use a variety of online and offline resources to find information about their President. See the "assets" area for Presidential biographies and Library of Congress links.
Once students have gathered their research, their primary objective will be transforming these facts into one written and one performance piece that will make up their exhibit.
Writing (Days 4-7)
5. Once you?ve checked that each group has successfully completed their research, students can move on to creating:
- either a brochure or a poster for their exhibit and
- a one to two page script for their performance
Both elements should include as much information about the President and the associated time period as possible.
The brochure or poster should creatively promote attractions of the ?museum? as well as their research information. It may include a presidential quote and/or a name for their exhibit.
The performance script must include at least two roles, one of which must be the President (be sure to stress as actors, any student can take on the role of the President). There may also be a narrator.
Scripts may focus around one key event during the presidency or may take the form of a modern-day interviewer traveling back in time to meet up with the President. Depending on your class dynamics, you may want to limit the script options to one of these choices.
6. Schedule check-ins with each group prior to creating the final product. Students should expect to make some modifications based on your comments.
Revising, Finalizing, Polishing (Days 7-10)
7. Now that all groups have met with you, use these final days to make the best presentation possible: consider easy costume or prop additions and other special elements.
Take time to spotlight each group.
1. Consider inviting another class or parents to visit your museums.2. As a natural next step, use the Writing With Writers Biography Workshop (see links) and have students publish their presidential profiles online.
By creating check-in points during each phase of this project, you will assess research skills, understanding and translating information, as well as teamwork skills.
Consider creating a simple rubric so groups may grade each other on the amount of relevant information included and the impact of the presentation.