Separation of Powers: Letter from President Eisenhower Document Analysis

In 1954, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Brown vs. Board of Education that segregated schools were “inherently unequal.” In 1957, Central High School in Little Rock, Ark., was ordered to desegregate. However, Arkansas Gov. Orval Faubus ordered the Arkansas National Guard to prevent nine African American students from entering the school on Sept. 3. A U.S. District Court ruled against the use of the National Guard at the school. When the students returned to the school, they were met by a mob of 1,000 segregationists, and, police removed them for their own protection. President Dwight Eisenhower then ordered federal troops to Central High to protect the students. This conversation starter uses a letter from Eisenhower to Sen. John Stennis (D, Mississippi) on Oct. 7, 1957, in which the president explains the role of the executive branch. Find this lesson in the Separation of Powers module.

  • Resource Type: Lesson Plans, Modules (Teaching Unit)
  • Subject: Rights and Responsibilities
  • Grades: 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

The President’s Roles and Responsibilities: Communicating with the President

In order to become informed participants in a democracy, students must learn about the women and men who make decisions concerning their lives, their country, and the world. The president of the United States is one such leader. As a nation, we place no greater responsibility on any one individual than we do on the president. Through several activites, students learn about the roles and responsibilities of the U.S. president and their own roles as citizens of a democracy.

  • Resource Type: Audio, Lesson Plans, Modules (Teaching Unit), Research (Digests of Primary Sources), Video
  • Subject: Executive Branch/Presidency
  • Grades: K, 1, 2

The Iran Nuclear Deal and Its Critics

In 2015, President Barack Obama’s administration struck an agreement with the government of Iran and other countries intended to limit Iran’s ability to build nuclear weapons. In May 2018, President Donald Trump announced that the United States would withdraw from the agreement known as the “nuclear deal” with Iran. All the nations that signed the deal, however, advised Trump not to withdraw. What will be the consequences of the U.S. withdrawal?

  • Resource Type: Lesson Plans
  • Subject: Executive Branch/Presidency
  • Grades: 9, 10, 11, 12

The President’s Roles and Responsibilities: Understanding the President’s Job

As a nation, we place no greater responsibility on any one individual than we do on the president. Through these activities, students learn about the roles and responsibilities of the U.S. president and their own roles as citizens of a democracy.

  • Resource Type: Lesson Plans, Modules (Teaching Unit)
  • Subject: Executive Branch/Presidency
  • Grades: K, 1, 2

The Amendment Process: Ratifying the 19th Amendment

In this activity, students will analyze historical records of Congress and the U.S. government to understand the sequence of steps in the amendment process. Students will study each document and match it to the step in the process that it illustrates.

When put in proper sequence, the documents will show the process by which the 19th Amendment – prohibiting the federal government or states from denying the right to vote on the basis of sex – was added to the Constitution.

Then students will reflect on the process, and the roles that the people, president, Congress and the states play.

  • Resource Type: Primary Sources
  • Subject: Voting, Elections, Politics
  • Grades: 9, 10, 11, 12

Presidents’ Day

Presidents’ Day is a U.S holiday celebrated on the third Monday of February. This holiday was first established in 1885 as “Washington’s Birthday” to celebrate President George Washington’s birthday on February 22. In 1971, the federal government renamed the holiday Presidents’ Day to honor all US presidents, past and present. The Share My Lesson team has selected a variety of free lesson plans, educational resources and classroom materials to support teachers as they celebrate Presidents’ Day.

  • Resource Type: Essays, Lesson Plans, Research (Digests of Primary Sources)
  • Subject: Executive Branch/Presidency
  • Grades: K, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

Advice & Consent: Choosing a Justice of the United States

According to Article II, Section 2 of the Constitution, “[The President] shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint… Judges of the supreme Court….” In March 2016, President Obama nominated Merrick Garland, Chief Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, to serve as a Justice. This lesson is designed to have students consider which issues and questions they think are important to explore in confirmation hearings.

  • Resource Type: Lesson Plans, Modules (Teaching Unit)
  • Subject: Judicial Branch/Supreme Court
  • Grades: 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

Grade 6-8 An Energetic Executive

The purpose of this lesson is to assist student understanding of the expressed and implied powers of the president. By the conclusion of this lesson, students will understand the scope and purpose of these powers and be able to describe how they play out in real life. Students will also understand the importance of constitutional checks on presidential powers–examining the ways that a president could abuse his or her power should constitutional checks not exist.

  • Resource Type: Lesson Plans
  • Subject: Executive Branch/Presidency
  • Grades: 6, 7, 8

The American Presidency: Core Documents

This collection of documents on the presidency begins with Alexander Hamilton’s commentary on the sections of the Constitution related to the executive branch and ends with President Barack Obama’s address to the nation defending his interpretation of executive authority under the Constitution to use force against the Syrian regime. The documents cover the executive’s role and the specific topics of presidential selection, term limits, and impeachment.

  • Resource Type: Primary Sources
  • Subject: Executive Branch/Presidency
  • Grades: 10, 11, 12

Be Washington

Be Washington is an interactive experience in which YOU take on the role of George Washington, either as commander in chief or president. Come face to face with a leadership challenge, listen to advice from his most trusted sources, and decide how to solve the same problems Washington himself faced. Learn how Washington actually handled the situation, and see how other players voted. Play as an individual or hosts a game for a group. Lesson plans are available for each scenario. The game may be played online and is also available as an app. Visiting Mount Vernon? Make plans to play Be Washington in the Interactive Theater.

  • Resource Type: Games, Lesson Plans, Simulation
  • Subject: Executive Branch/Presidency
  • Grades: 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12