Most Despised U.S. Presidents

his lesson explores why five U.S. presidents were hated by groups of Americans, including Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Lyndon Johnson, and Richard Nixon. Students will explore materials from C-SPAN’s Presidential Survey and engage in a choice board activity. The lesson culminates with students reflecting on how presidents have been criticized historically and in contemporary times and offers two extension activities.

Grades 6-12
Executive Branch/Presidency
Interactives

Intertwined: The Enslaved Community at George Washington’s Mount Vernon

Intertwined tells the story of the more than 577 people enslaved by George and Martha Washington at Mount Vernon. Told through the biographies of Sambo Anderson, Davy Gray, William Lee, Kate, Ona Judge, Nancy Carter Quander, Edmund Parker, Caroline Branham, and the Washingtons, this eight-part podcast series explores the lives and labors of Mount Vernon’s enslaved community, and how we interpret slavery at the historic site today.

Voting Rights Marches in Selma

In March of 1965, civil rights activists and religious leaders marched from Selma to Montgomery to demand African Americans be given the right to vote. In this lesson, students will hear about the factors that contributed to the marches that occurred in Selma as well as visit key locations in the area and view archived video of the events that unfolded.

Grades 6-12
Federal Government
Lesson Plans

Landmark Supreme Court Case: Yick Wo v. Hopkins (1886)

The Supreme Court’s decision in this case was seen as trailblazing. It struck down legislation aimed at closing Chinese-operated laundries in San Francisco and guaranteed noncitizens the Constitution’s protections. It was the first case to use the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment, which prohibits states from denying any person within their jurisdiction the equal protection of the law. In a unanimous decision, the Supreme Court ruled laws with discriminatory intent were unconstitutional. This landmark case has been cited over 150 times since the Court’s decision.

Grades 9-12
History
Lesson Plans

Women and the U.S. Supreme Court

This lesson plan opens with reflective questions that ask students to consider their prior knowledge of Supreme Court justices and how many have been women. Students then watch, analyze, and respond to an introductory video that details the impetus for law professor Renee Knake Jefferson’s co-authoring of “Shortlisted: Women in the Shadows of the Supreme Court.” Next, students explore two clips that include President Richard Nixon’s shortlisting of two women for the Supreme Court and how gender diversity on the U.S. Supreme and state courts compare to courts in other democracies. Students then engage in a choice board exploration activity, where they choose to study four of nine different topics. The lesson concludes with a reflective prompt and offers an optional extension activity.

Grades 9-12
History
Interactives

Choice Board: U.S. Presidents and the Press

Throughout history, U.S. presidents have carved out their relationships with the press. In this lesson, students will hear from author and historian Harold Holzer as he discusses how several presidents, from George Washington to Donald Trump, navigated their interactions with the media and implemented strategies to communicate with the press, some of which are still used today.

Grades 9-12
Executive Branch/Presidency
Interactives

First Amendment Freedoms Choice Board

The 1st Amendment to the Constitution provides for freedoms: freedom of religion, speech, press, assembly, and petition. This lesson has students examine the concepts of these freedoms through a variety of perspectives and explore current examples through video-based resources. This lesson works well in classes with one-to-one devices or could be adapted to fit a flipped classroom.

Grades 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11
Foundations of Democracy
Interactives

Choice Board: Our Founding Documents

This document is a choice board covering 12 different topics related to the Declaration of Independence, Constitution, and Bill of Rights. Students are linked to a C-SPAN video and other .gov source, and then have specific activities to complete for each topic. Teachers can customize this document as needed — the current directions ask students to complete 6 topics, but that can be adjusted. This is a multi-day activity that can be done in person or via distance learning.

Grades 6-12
Foundations of Democracy
Lesson Plans

Road to the Convention – Module 3 of Constitution 101

The founders were children of the Enlightenment, a European intellectual movement beginning in the late 1600s. The ideas that fueled this period were a celebration of reason, the power through which human beings might understand the universe and improve their condition. Overall, the movement strived for knowledge, freedom, and happiness. These ideas sparked transformational changes in art, philosophy, and politics. When crafting a new constitution, the founders followed this Enlightenment model and drew lessons from history and from their own experiences. Between the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution, the American people were governed at the national level by the Articles of Confederation and at the state level by state constitutions. From the founders’ perspective, these frameworks of government were noble experiments, but also deeply flawed. With the U.S. Constitution, the Founding generation established a new national government designed to address the deficiencies in these forms of government—creating a new government that was strong and deliberative enough to achieve common purposes and check mob violence, but also restrained enough to protect individual liberty. Understand Shays’ Rebellion and its influence on the Founding generation. Learning objectives: Describe the Articles of Confederation and determine what type of national government it established; discuss what the Founding generation learned from key state constitutions; explain why the Founding generation decided to write a new constitution; examine the key lessons in Federalist Nos. 10 and 55.