Looking for an activity that will really excited students and get them engaged in history? Well, put students in the driver seat of history and act as the president for 3 key crisis the young nation faced! In these lessons, students act as President Washington, Adams, and Jefferson and learn about a crisis each one faced and had to solve.
These presidential decisions activities, has students work in groups (it could be done individually or pairs, but its best as a group of 3-4), taking on different roles- as president, advisors, and 'press secretary' who is the recorder and also ensures the President takes public opinion into account.
First, you review a timeline of important events that led to the crisis to help students understand factors leading to this issue. Then there is a 'context' overview slide that breaks down the crisis into a very understandable language. Then, students read the 'Presidential Briefing' and complete the 'Presidential Decisions' worksheet.
The worksheet has students consider important questions a president must consider before coming to a decision- what do we know about this issue, what limitations do I have, what does the Constitution allow me to do, what do I wish the result to be, what could go wrong, how do the American people feel on this issue, and many several more. This gets students to really think deeply and take problem solving seriously and will make history interesting for students as they think critically and creatively!
Then, students write a speech announcing their decision and this could be read to the class so students learn how each group approached the crisis. Lastly, you review what the president actually did to handle this situation. On the slideshow, it reviews this so you can just discuss it with students. Trust me, students will be so much more interested in what actually happened, ask questions about it, and think critically about a historical event they might otherwise have not cared a lick about! So get your students in the drive seat in history and engage them in some seriously exciting history!
This has everything you need to complete the activity- no outside resources are needed! While these are fun history activities, they are still rigorous!
Check out my full year bundle of president decisions if you like this!