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Presidential Decisions: Theodore Roosevelt & The Coal Strike Crisis

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 In this presidential decision making activity, students take on the role of President Roosevelt and his advisors to come to develop a strategy for solving the coal strike crisis of 1902.

SITUATION: The United Mine Workers Assoc. has called for a nation-wide strike until their demands of better pay and working condition are met by the coal operators and owners will not recognize the Union or their demands. Winter is setting in. Industries are set to layoff their workers, schools will soon close, and the many will die without heat if this is not resolved. However, most presidents did not think it was constitutional to get involved in such a crisis- what do you do, President Roosevelt?

First, you review a timeline of important events that led to this 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 two page '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. Questions are scaffolded to support critical thinking and help students be successful. 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. 

This will help students understand the major shift in politics during the Progressive Era! 

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!  👊

Engaging US History lesson plans ready to excite your students and great for your homeschool history curriculum as well! 

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