president wilson war activity
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PRESIDENTIAL DECISIONS: President Wilson and World War I

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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 most horrific war in human history rages in Europe with terrifying new weapons that have led to millions of casualties already. The US has remained neutral however, tensions are greatly increasing with Germany that could lead to war. With unrestricted submarine warfare our neutral ships have been sunk, lives have been lost, and Germany has secretly enticed Mexico to declare war upon us. How should America respond?

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. 


Trust me, students will be so much more interested in what actually happened 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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