In this presidential decision making activity, students take on the role of President Lincoln, General Grant, and other advisors to come to a decisions to develop a strategy to end the Civil War.
SITUATION: It is late 1864 one month before the election. The Civil War has raged for over three years and hundreds of thousands have died and northern people are weary from the strains of war. General Sherman has taken control of Atlanta and has proposed diverting from traditional tactics and start attacking the infrastructure and material resources of the south. This "total war" strategy could have bring an end to the war or it could terrible unintended consequences. Mr. President, you need to develop a strategy to achieve victory, secure peace to save the Union.
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 in this very engaging, student centered lesson.
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 several more. This is such a powerful problem-solving activity for history class that develops critical thinking and active learning!
Then, students write a short 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- which is explained on the slideshow. There is a sheet for students to record what actually happen and reflect on how well they did in the activity. It ends with an optional little quiz to review the essential terms and concepts from the lesson.
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! And there are links to the Google slides version so you can edit anything you want! This is one of three President Lincoln decisions activities. While these are fun history activities, they are still rigorous! 👊
Engaging US History lesson plans ready to excite your students and great for your homeschool history curriculum as well!