Inauguration Day Resources

In this collection, you will find resources for teaching about the inauguration, news lessons surrounding the 2020 election, ways to help students engage in civil discourse, ideas for student civic engagement, strategies for discussing controversial issues in the classroom and more resources about the foundations of democracy and government.

Presidential Inaugurations, Past and Present

Every four years, on the steps of the U.S. Capitol building, the newly-elected President of the United States is inaugurated. This event not only includes the president taking the oath of office, but also provides the opportunity for the new President to lay out the direction he hopes to take the country. By analyzing historic texts and visuals, students can find common themes as well as important differences when comparing different inaugurations.

Grades 8, 9-12
Executive Branch/Presidency
Modules (Teaching Unit)

1968: The Poor People’s Campaign

1968 was a tumultuous period in the United States. The Vietnam War, political assassinations and civil rights issues were among some of the challenges the country faced as solutions were sought. At this time, Martin Luther King Jr. organized the Poor People’s Campaign to shift the focus of the civil rights movement to economic issues; however, Reverend King was assassinated weeks before the campaign got underway in Washington, D.C. In this lesson, students will learn about the circumstances that gave rise to this campaign and how it is relevant today.

Civil Rights Movement: Sit-Ins

By the 1960s, the Civil Rights movement was growing in the U.S. Leaders such as Martin Luther King Jr. employed non-violent methods of protesting. On February 1, 1960 students in Greenville, NC engaged in a new peaceful tactic, a sit-in. This launched a wave of sit-ins across the country. In this lesson, students will hear about the circumstances that unfolded that day and hits impact on the country.

Grades 8, 9-12
History
Lesson Plans

The Troubled Elections of 1796 and 1800

George Washington won the first two U.S. presidential elections without being challenged. When he decided not to run for a third term in 1796, intense rivalries, political disputes, and attempted manipulations of the Electoral College came into play. These factors would again affect the 1800 election, essentially a rematch of 1796, pitting a sitting president, John Adams, against his own vice president, Thomas Jefferson.

Grades 8, 9-12
Executive Branch/Presidency
Lesson Plans

The History of Contested Presidential Elections

This lesson looks at the contested presidential elections occurring in 1800, 1824, 1876 and 2000. Using C-SPAN video clips, students will identify how each election was resolved and the consequences of these elections. They will apply this knowledge by describing similarities and differences between these examples and determining what lessons can be learned from these elections.

Grades 7-12
Executive Branch/Presidency
Interactives

Presidential Transitions

This lesson has students explore the challenges that incoming administrations face during presidential transitions. Students will hear from historians and from White House staff to learn about previous presidential transitions and how the administrations worked together. With this information, students will develop a list of best practices that can be used during these transitions.

Grades 9-12
Executive Branch/Presidency
Interactives

Electoral College Map Virtual Scavenger Hunt

This lesson has students explore C-SPAN’s online Historical Electoral College Map resource to learn about the process, history, and current patterns and trends relating to the Electoral College. This self-guided activity will have students use a series of online Electoral College maps and results from 1900 to 2016 to complete a virtual scavenger hunt. Students will use this resource to analyze maps and data to better understand how the Electoral College works.

Choice Board – How Effective Are Presidential Campaign Ads?

The methods in which candidates, political parties and interest groups promote their positions and policies have evolved since the first television campaign ads aired. In this lesson, students will view videos of historical presidential campaign advertisements and analyze the features found within each to determine the overall effectiveness.

Grades 9-12
Executive Branch/Presidency
Interactives