Lesson Plan

What Does it Take to be President? (A PBL Activity)

A look at how presidents have overcome obstacles to make a difference in our lives today.
Rae Ann S.
Technology coordinator
Hempfield School District
Landisville, PA
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My Grades K, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
My Subjects English Language Arts, Math, Science, Social Studies
Objectives

Students will be able to...

  • Define the following words:  Perseverance, Grit, Fortitude, Strategy, Willpower, Foresight
  • Identify obstacles that had to be overcome by the president of their choice.
  • Describe strategies used by the president to achieve their goals.
  • Select or create visual media to support a specific theme or message about their president.
  • Organize media into a logical sequence to correlate with a script they have written about their president
  • Communicate what they have learned about their president as well as how they relate to them as an individual.
  • Create a video to share with their peers.
Subjects
English Language Arts
Social Studies
Grades 4 - 8
All Notes
Teacher Notes
Student Notes

1 Hook

Tell students that they are going to be learning about presidents to explore how they  dealt with obstacles during their presidency.    However, the students will first have to do some problem-solving of their own using the Zoombinis app.   They will receive no instructions except for what is included in the app itself.    Students will be given 20 minutes to complete puzzles, looking for patterns and developing strategies.    They may talk to each other and work wherever they want to in the room.   Write the following vocabulary words on the board for students to think about and strive to define as they play: Perseverance, Grit, Fortitude, Strategy, Willpower, Foresight

    Student Instructions

    You will have 20 minutes to complete puzzles in the Zoombini app.  Look for patterns and develop strategies for solving the puzzles as you play.    You may talk to each other and work wherever you want to in the room.   Think about the following vocabulary words and what they mean as you play: Perseverance, Grit, Fortitude, Strategy, Willpower, Foresight

    2 Direct Instruction/Discussion

    Google Drive
    Free, Paid

    “Perseverance” means sticking with something even when it isn’t easy.  How did the Zoombinis game require perseverance?   Was it fun to have to figure out how to solve the puzzles?  Did you find it challenging?    How did you manage things when you had trouble solving a puzzle?   Which vocab word would describe that action (strategies)?   Elicit responses from the students to collaboratively define each vocabulary word as they relate to the game as well as descriptions of various strategies that they used (ie, asking for help, watching another student solve the puzzle, etc.)

    Tell students that every US  president had to have perseverance to overcome some sort of obstacle that was making it difficult for them to achieve a specific goal.   Their actions have impacted our lives today in some way.   It is becoming more and more evident that every individual has the potential to become president.  Even one of the students in THIS class may someday be president!

    Have students consider the following questions and record their thoughts in a Google Drive document.   This information will be helpful to them later as they create their project.

    1. What does it take to become President of the United States?
    2. What goals would you have as president and who would help accomplish your goals?
    3. How long do you think it would take you to achieve your goals?  Would four years be long enough or would you need longer?
    4. Do you think you would have any obstacles that would  make it difficult to achieve your goals?  What would you do to overcome them? 

    Tell students that they will be creating a video about the perseverance of a specific president of their choosing using the instructions provided.

    Student Instructions

    Every US  president had to have perseverance to overcome some sort of obstacle that was making it difficult for them to achieve a specific goal.   Their actions have impacted our lives today in some way.   It is becoming more and more evident that every individual has the potential to become president.  Even one of the students in THIS class may someday be president!

    Consider the following questions and record your thoughts in a Google Drive document.   This information will be helpful to you later as you create your project.

    1. What does it take to become President of the United States?
    2. What goals would you have as president and who would help accomplish your goals?
    3. How long do you think it would take you to achieve your goals?  Would four years be long enough or would you need longer?
    4. Do you think you would have any obstacles that would  make it difficult to achieve your goals?  What would you do to overcome them? 

    3 Resource Review/Guided Practice

    Review the digital resources that students will use complete their project.   Although other resources may be used in their research, students will need to obtain teacher approval before using them.   Citations for all information and media used in their project MUST be provided.

    Student Instructions

    Using the online resources provided, choose a president to learn more about.  As you read and watch the videos, identify a few specific things that this president tried to accomplish for the good of the nation.  Pay particular attention to the obstacles they encountered while in trying to get these things done. Consider who or what they were working against and why they had trouble.  Record what your president do to overcome the obstacles that were in the way and evaluate how effective these strategies were. Explain why some methods were successful while others failed.  Compare what you learned about this individual to your own life, sharing what you related to and appreciate about what this person did as president.   Consider how you might have handled certain situations differently and/or who the president might have solicited help from. 

    4 Independent Work/Project

    iMovie
    $4.99
    Google Drive
    Free, Paid

    When students are finished with their research, they will create an iMovie (it is assumed that students are already familiar with this application) to communicate what they've learned.    When they are finished, the will upload their video to Google Drive to obtain feedback from two other students (it is assumed that students are already familiar with this application and process) .  The teacher will circulate to assist students as needed while they are working.

    Student Instructions

    When you are finished with your research, create a video using iMovie not just about your president but how the obstacles that they overcame affect your life today.   Below are the specific steps you will need to follow to complete your project:

    1. Using the digital resources, review some general information about a few presidents to identify the one that you would like to learn more about.   Consider researching a less-known individual or one that you know a little about and can relate to (for example, you love the outdoors and know that Teddy Roosevelt was a conservationist).
    2. Conduct your research utilizing the same resources as well as the guiding questions below:
      • What specific accomplishments did this president strive to make?
      • Why were these goals important?
      • How did the president plan to achieve their goals?
      • What obstacles did they encounter?
      • What strategies were used to overcome the obstacles?  Who helped?
      • Was the president successful?    How do we benefit today from their perseverance?
      • What do you admire about this individual and/or how can you relate to them?
      • Is there anything you think could have been done differently for this president to be more effective?
    3. Review digital images and videos that relate to your president and identify which ones provide the strongest visual support to your theme.   Be sure not to just choose media of the president themselves, but for things that depict ideas or general object that represent what you want to say.   Take digital photos or create any additional visuals that you need.
    4. Write a script that communicates what you’ve learned, including your thoughts and personal insights.    Organize your media so that the visuals not only correlate to what you are saying, but demonstrates your connection to this president and strongly engages your viewer.
    5. Create your video using iMovie.
    6. Upload the draft of your iMovie to Google Drive and share it with two other students (as assigned by your teacher) to obtain feedback.
    7. Revise your video based on the feedback from your peers.

    5 Wrap-up/Sharing

    When the video is finalized, students will upload it to Voicethread and share it with the group created by the teacher.    They can then view other videos, making and receiving comments.

    Student Instructions
    1. Upload the final video to Voicethread and share it with the appropriate group.
    2. View at least 5 other videos and comment on them.
    3. Review the comments from others about your video.