Presidents’ Day is a wonderful time to get your students thinking about leadership. By learning about those who have served our country as President of the United States, your students may be inspired to pursue roles in public service someday. Looking at leadership can help your students understand how they can make an impact on their community even on a small scale, such as by volunteering and serving others.
1. Kick off this week by sharing this fantastic map with your students. It illustrates where U.S. presidents were born!
By looking at this map, your students learn that the U.S. presidents have come from many different states to lead one nation. Use the bookmarks at the bottom of the map to explore the states where presidents were born. Start a classroom discussion about birthplaces. How does one’s childhood home and community affect his or her leadership? Do you think any of our presidents compelled to act in certain ways because of where they were from? Your students can make other maps on this topic by using National Geograhic Education‘s MapMaker Interactive!
2. Another way you can talk about Presidents’ Day in your classroom is by showing this video to your students. It explains how photography has been to document the presidents. It also explains how presidents use photography to get people to take action or to feel a certain way about their presidency.
What connections are there between Abraham Lincoln and John F. Kennedy in their use of photography during their presidencies? How has documenting presidential actions changed today? What images resonate the most with your students when it comes to explaining the presidency of the current president, Barak Obama?
This video also illustrates that presidents are people, too. They have families and friends, and they enjoy being outside and exploring. Can your students see themselves growing into a leader and maintaining friendships and family relationships easily? What can your students learn about a president’s humanity by watching the video?
3. Finally, connect your students to the presidents in another way by reading about their pets! Check out this National Geographic Kids article about “First Dog” Bo!
By reading about presidential pets, your students will get an understanding that presidents are people just like them. They care about their family, friends, and even their pets!
What are other ways your classroom is celebrating Presidents’ Day?
More related resources from National Geographic Education
Map: U.S. President Birthplace Map
Interactive: MapMaker Interactive
Video: Documenting the President
Article: Presidential Pets