Seat at the Table Lesson Plan

“If they don’t give you a seat at the table, bring a folding chair.” — Rep. Shirley Chisholm
Inspired by Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm’s famous words and life story, the Kennedy Institute launched the Seat at the Table Project in which the Institute invited individuals, schools, and community organizations to think about why diversity of representation is vital and what necessary contributions we each bring to the table when we pull up a chair. Download a lesson plan and discussion guide for a family, class or your community.

The Constitutional Convention: Four Founding Fathers You May Never Have Met

Introduce your students to four key, but relatively unknown, contributors to the U.S. Constitution — Oliver Ellsworth, Alexander Hamilton, William Paterson, and Edmund Randolph. Learn through their words and the words of others how the Founding Fathers created “a model of cooperative statesmanship and the art of compromise.”

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

Students will create visual metaphors to explain the seven principles of the Constitution. Students will practice their speaking skills as they explain their visual analogies to the rest of the class. Students will reflect on the big ideas and make personal connections to the material by recording their learning in a Learning Log during and after the presentations.

Grades 6-12
Federal Government
Lesson Plans

Martin’s Big Words

In this lesson, students will experience unequal treatment first hand – some will receive a sticker based on an arbitrary characteristic, like hair color – and by discussing their reactions, they will come to understand the meaning of equality. Students will learn about the life and dream of Dr. Martin Luther King and write about what his dream for equality means in their own lives.

Arguing Arkansas: Analyzing the Impact of Eisenhower’s Little Rock Speech

This lesson, developed in collaboration with the National Archives, has students explore a number of primary sources, all connected to the events at Little Rock High School. It asks students to consider how the events at Little Rock may or may not have been impacted by the words and leadership of President Dwight D. Eisenhower.

Dolley Madison and Politics

This short video analyzes both the practical and the psychological contributions made by Dolley Madison to the young republic. Practically, Dolley’s weekly receptions in the drawing room of the White House became the only public gathering place in Washington, DC for doing the real business of politics. Psychologically, Dolley became, in the words of Professor Catherine Allgor, a “Republican Queen”, whose charm and charisma made her a symbol of America during the War of 1812.

Grades 9-12
Voting, Elections, Politics
Video

The Meaning of George Washington’s Birthday

Why should a nation that loves equality single out one man for special honors? In this ebook, we examine the words and deeds of the “Father of Our Country” and consider the qualities of leadership needed for the flourishing of our nation. Each selection includes a brief introduction by the editors with guiding questions for discussion. Includes stories, speeches, and other writings by Thomas Paine, John Marshall, Thomas Jefferson, Richard Brookhiser, Allen Guelzo, and more.

Songs for Free Men and Women

How can songs—moving speech, set to rhythmic music—shape hearts and minds? What do America’s national songs mean, and what feelings does singing them inspire? “Songs for Free Men and Women” carefully examines our major national songs, both to understand their words and to discover what they contribute to making attached citizens. Includes discussion questions for the National Anthem, “God Bless America,” “This Land Is Your Land,” and more.