History: Elect Washington!

Suggested Books

Essential Questions for students (objectives):  Discover what life was like in the 18th century.  Evaluate the important events in Washington’s life.

Time needed:  2 to 3 class periods (50 minutes)

Supplies: Computers for each student, poster making supplies, Poster directions, George Washington Timeline handout
Common Core Standards:  RH.6-8.7, RH.6-8.8, RH.6-8.10, WHST.6-8.7. WHST. 6-8.9

Step by step lesson description:

Brainstorm with the class the traits that make a great leader.  Write the terms on the board.  Discuss what makes these traits important in our leaders.  Decide how one might prove these traits.  Primary documents (letters, speeches, actions) would solidify these characteristics.

1)  Pass out the poster directions handout:  George Washington has come back to life and has decided to run in the next presidential election.  He is consulting your firm to decide if he should hire your group to help run his campaign. Your job is to research his life (accomplishments, experiences, background, family, obstacles, character etc.) and create a poster that uses 3 words describing his leadership.  On this poster, your group must also include the evidence of your choices.  Your group will decide on an election strategy and present your ideas to Washington so that he will choose your company to run his presidential campaign.

2)  Students start by investigating a timeline of his life using the timeline handout:  http://discovergeorgewashington.org/

Students need to learn all that they can about this potential client.  A good strategy is to find out everything in order to characterize the candidate.  What has he accomplished?  What is his character?  How can he prove it?  Use primary sources to make claims about the client.

Students will research these major events in Washington’s life:

            Family, Surveying and Domestic Life

            French and Indian War (Battle at Fort Necessity and the Battle of the Monongahela)

            American’s Revolution (Battle of Trenton, Valley Forge and Yorktown)

            Newburgh Crisis

            Constitutional Convention

            Presidency – precedents – foreign and domestic issues

 3)  Students assess one another's poster.

Additional connections:  For more information about George Washington’s home Mount Vernon visit:  http://www.mountvernon.org/the-estate-gardens/the-mansion/mansion-virtual-tour/    or to see lesson plans http://www.mountvernon.org/educational-resources/for-teachers/lesson-plans-and-materials/