Celebrate Presidents’ Day With Your Students

3 min read

While your school might be closed on Presidents’ Day, you can still plan a presidential lesson the week before the holiday. Presidents’ Day falls on the third Monday of February each year, and this year is February 20, 2023.

While it’s easy to incorporate presidential themes into your history classes, why not plan something special for English, math, and science too? With Gale In Context: Elementary, school librarians and teachers can discover clever lesson-planning ideas and ready-made trivia to celebrate Presidents’ Day in any subject. Plus, you can confidently set your young learners loose on their own research projects, trusting in the age-appropriate and accurate content housed in Elementary.

Research the Country’s Lesser-Known Presidents

Everyone knows the legends of George Washington crossing the Delaware River and Abe Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. People remember Theodore Roosevelt‘s “big stick” philosophy and JFK’s stylish wife. But what about some of the lesser-known Presidents like James Buchanan or Rutherford B. Hayes? After all, 45 different people have served as president. This Presidents’ Day, history and social studies teachers can create a fun lesson plan that highlights the lesser-known men who ran the United States.

Gale In Content: Elementary has easy-to-navigate entries for every president, whether Millard Fillmore, James Polk, or Chester Arthur. With Elementary’s featured summaries, students will discover content suitable for elementary school researchers. Each U.S. President has a landing page that includes key facts, images, and supplemental articles—all written and structured with young readers in mind.

Activity Idea: Show students a full list of U.S. Presidents and encourage them to select a name they don’t know for a research project. Have your young learners conduct some basic biographical research on their selected presidents and then present their findings.

Write a Letter to the President

English and Language Arts teachers can get involved too! To start, encourage students to discuss what is important to them and their families. Ask how the president might make those things better. Then, help your elementary learners write a real letter to the president. For inspiration, Gale In Context: Elementary has some examples of children who have not only written to the president but actually heard back. Students can share their ideas and ask questions of the highest office.

Once students complete their letters, you can mail them to the White House:
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC 20500

Maybe your classroom will receive a letter back from the Oval Office.

Discuss Presidential Achievements in STEM

While U.S. Presidents are politicians and not necessarily scientists, many contributed greatly to the scientific community. John F. Kennedy was instrumental in the country’s space program, Teddy Roosevelt protected national parks, Richard Nixon created the Environmental Protection Agency, and Jimmy Carter was committed to helping the United States save energy. Science teachers can introduce students to some of these major scientific innovations and encourage them to research further using Gale’s digital collections. Ask your students—are there scientific initiatives they think the current U.S. President should support?

Activity Idea: Use U.S. coins for a hands-on math activity. First, have students try to identify which president’s face is on which coin. Then, have your students practice their addition and subtraction with the coins. Students can categorize coins by type and then see how many ways they can make one dollar out of the denominations they have.

This February, use Gale In Context: Elementary to fuel your lesson planning and support your students’ budding research skills.

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