History is important and elementary students would do well to learn about their country, its present and past presidents, how their country started, and who were instrumental in forming the first government. Election years would be the ideal time to incorporate these into classrooms. Depending on the grade, whether kindergarten through the sixth, there is enough variety to interest everyone. In preschool they could learn that every organization, schools, Parents and Teachers Association and even countries have presidents. Perhaps they could then vote on a president for their class.
Why is this a good history projects for children? For one thing, there is always a lot of talk going around, on T.V., and in schools, among other family members, about presidents. It is something they can relate to.
Of course, learning about presidents is a natural part of our school system but it one that ways in teaching about them that is forever new. In the fourth, fifth and sixth grades there are endless ways of starting new projects about the presidents. Each student’s project could have a new slant:
How many President started libraries? A favorite project of presidents after they leave office is opening up a new library for a particular place, usually in or near their home town. Several students may want to form groups and delve into the history of these. They not only will be able to research them on-line but can ask for and get direct information from these places. Maybe a signed picture or a copy of a signed picture could be an added wall decoration. Or have each student select their own particular type of history project based on the presidents. A few examples are below:
What states have had more presidents? This will be all the more interesting to those students from the states with the most presidents. What states still lack past presidents? How many of these presidents went back home after their term of president was over? If not, such as the Clinton’s, where did they go? Why? What was the attraction of the new state former presidents chose as their new home?
Nicknames for presidents: This will add a lighter touch to this history lesson. Most presidents and most students have nick names by which others, playfully or in jest, call them. Who was known as old ‘Rough and Ready’? Why was this nickname chosen? By what other name is Abraham Lincoln known? What nickname was given to Andrew Jackson? Why was this given? If they are stumped, give them a one word clue such as tree; after much searching they will discover why he known as “Old Hickory”.
First Ladies: Women have always been influential in the White House and have helped their husbands. Possibly the teacher will have discussions about the names of the first ladies and then on the board make two columns: on the one on the left the name of ten first ladies; on the right the name of ten presidents. The students could write their answers on a piece of paper. The one with the most, wins, and second and third and so on. This would add a light touch to the classroom while teaching them important facts.
Who was president during the Civil War? There are many events that they have been learning about and it would be to the teacher’s advantage to allow the students to pick the events. They may need help in this but it would go far in elevating interest in the project. Here are a few possibilities: First railroads; The Great Depression; The Panama Canal; Women being allowed to vote. The students, of course, will have more and better ideas.
Who was the president when you were born? We all like to learn what other important events were happening when we were born. It’s as if we want to fill in the blanks and makes some sense out of our world. This will add an interesting note to a sometimes tedious history assignment. When we can somehow make a direct connection to the one learning, it becomes more meaningful. I am sure teachers understand this but a refresher course is always welcome where teaching is concerned h
Children will remember these facts and they will build upon them as they grow and learn about their country’s history as well as about the rest of the world. For this age, however, it is better to start history about events closer to home and to connect them to events that are important to the child. Who, as an example, will ever forget the president with the same birthday, as their own, or one with the same name, or living in the same state?
If the child is of another nationality and their presidents aren’t important enough to consider as a class project, what about history of their own country. Anything having to do with history, or discoveries about scientific breakthroughs, will make excellent history projects. Perhaps they can compare these to another country, or to statistics abo