Monroe Doctrine Lesson for Kids
This is the 18th lesson in a series of 28 hands-on lessons covering U.S. American History through 1865. This lesson focuses on the Monroe Doctrine & John Quincy Adams. I used this plan while teaching a 45 minute history class for children in Kindergarten, 1st, & 2nd grades. Each lesson includes a biography report, history notebook page, history song, our favorite children's books, YouTube video, a history joke, & a variety of hands-on activities to make each lesson engaging & memorable. Use these fun lessons with your classroom, homeschool, after-school program, or co-op!
Do you think America should enact a policy like the Monroe Doctrine again?
1. President James Monroe, who grew up in Virginia, loved spoonbread, which was a very common meal. Make Old Tavern Spoonbread:
- Before class begins, warm a 9x13 casserole dish in a 375F oven with 2 Tbsp. butter.
- Before class begins, heat 3 cups of milk in a saucepan on the stove (or in the microwave).
- As soon as the milk starts to boil, the children can mix in 1 1/4 cups of cornmeal.
- After stirring it in (which needs to happens quickly), the children can break open & beat 3 eggs into a measuring cup. I stirred the eggs into the cornmeal/milk so I could do it quickly.
- Allow children to add 1 tsp. salt, 1 3/4 tsp. baking powder, & 2 heaping Tbsp. sugar. (*The sugar isn't called for in the above recipe, but it was much appreciated by all who ate it.)
- Mix in the melted 2 Tbsp. of butter and then place the mixture into the hot casserole dish. (I did spray it with non-stick spray first.)
- Bake at 375F for 35 minutes. (You can use a toaster oven if you don't have a full-sized oven available.)
- Teaching points: Be sure to mention that the butter would have come from a the milk of a cow that was churned. The eggs came from chickens. The cornmeal came from corn that was ground up into a fine meal. The salt adds flavor. The baking powder helps it rise. Back in those days it would have been cooked over a fire, not in an oven.
You will need:
- baking items: 9x13 casserole dish, liquid measuring cup, measuring cups & spoons, & oven mitt
- ingredients: 2 Tbsp. butter, 3 c. milk, 1 1/4 c. cornmeal, 1 tsp. salt, 1 3/4 tsp. baking powder, 2 heaping Tbsp. sugar, non-stick cooking spray
Student Biography Presentation: James Monroe
2. Student biography presentation on James Monroe
Review & Presidents Song
3. Review: Where do we find the rules for how America's government will run? (Constitution) How many branches are there in our government? (3) Can you name 1? (legislative, executive, judicial) What land did Thomas Jefferson purchase in 1803? (Louisiana Territory) Who explored it? (Lewis & Clark) Who was Sacajawea? (their Native American woman guide & translator) When James Madison was President, which war was fought between America & England? (War of 1812) What famous song did Francis Scott Key write during the War of 1812? (Star-Spangled Banner)
4. Now let's go through all the Presidents. Sing through the entire song 2 times while either showing the video or flipping through pictures of the Presidents. (Be sure to add in "Donald Trump" at the end.)
You will need:
- Screen to show the below video or a book showing Presidents or point to their pictures on a President place mat
Introduction to James Monroe
5. Read some of James Monroe: Fifth President, 1817-1825 (Getting to Know the US Presidents) by Mike Venezia.
You will need:
- James Monroe: Fifth President, 1817-1825 (Getting to Know the US Presidents) by Mike Venezia or other book on James Monroe
Monroe Crossing the Delaware
6. Look again at Washington Crossing the Delaware by Emanuel Leutze. There's actually another President in that painting. George Washington was our first president under the Constitution. James Monroe was our last president who actually fought in the American War for Independence and the last President who was a Founding Father who helped to write the Constitution. James Monroe is the man holding the flag.
You will need:
- a copy of the painting Washington Crossing the Delaware by Emanuel Leutze
Monroe Doctrine Game
7. Monroe Doctrine Game: During Monroe's presidency, he told Europe that American was closed for colonization. Europe was no longer allowed to come over to North or South America & try to capture land to rule it. They needed to stay on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean. They needed to mind their own business over in Europe, and America would mind its own business & not get involved in fights happening in Europe.
- Tape a picture of North & South America on the wall. The boys are America. They must protect North & South American from Europeans.
- The girls get to be Europeans. They are trying to grab the pictures of North or South America. They must start on the other side of the table (the Atlantic Ocean), but they are allowed to cross over the "Atlantic Ocean" table.
- America (the boys) will try to keep Europe away from North & South America.
- Give them 30 seconds to see if America's Monroe Doctrine wins. Will Europe get North & South America or will America keep them away?
- No matter what happened in class, in real life, the Monroe Doctrine for many years at keeping America & Europe separate.
You will need:
- a picture of North & South America (printed from the computer)
8. Proverbs 11:14 tells us, "For lack of guidance a nation falls, but victory is won through many advisers." James Madison knew that he needed to surround himself with many advisers to give him suggestions on how to run America. With their help, he was a wonderful President. Historians call his presidency "The Era of Good Feelings."
Monroe Doctrine Noteook Page
9. Make a Monroe Doctrine Lapbook Page.
- Pass out a world map to each child & have them use a bright crayon to draw a line down the Atlantic Ocean. Have them color the line a few times so it's wide.
- Have them cut across the line to separate the American continents from Europe and the rest of the world.
- Have them fold the outside edges of the world and paste them to a sheet of paper.
- On the inside of the paper have them write "Monroe Doctrine." (I wrote it for children who were struggling to write.)
- Repeat that the Monroe Doctrine said that Europe needed to leave America alone. They were no longer allowed to come over to North or South America & try to make colonies. If they have a fight over in Europe, they shouldn't try to involve America in their fights. They need to leave America alone, and America will leave Europe alone.
- Children can place the page in their history notebooks.
You will need per child:
- a map of the world
- a blank sheet of paper punched with a 3 hole punch
- student supplies: a bright crayon (such as red), scissors, & glue stick
10. After James Monroe's Era of Good Feelings, America elected John Quincy Adams. Even though he was a good President, he wasn't as well-liked as James Monroe. Quickly summarize the life & presidency of John Quincy Adams while flipping through the book John Quincy Adams (Getting to Know the US Presidents) by Mike Venezia.
You will need:
- John Quincy Adams (Getting to Know the US Presidents) by Mike Venezia or other book on John Quincy Adams
11. Eat Spoonbread on a spoon, of course.
You will need:
- disposable spoons
12. Review: Tell me something you learned today about James Monroe. What is something you learned about John Quincy Adams?
13. Assign next week's student biography report on Andrew Jackson.
Extra Books to Read
We also enjoyed reading:
- Young John Quincy by Cheryl Harness
- Dangerous Crossing: The Revolutionary Voyage of John Quincy Adams by Stephen Krensky
- James Monroe, Young Patriot by Rae Bains
- John Quincy Adams (Getting to Know the US Presidents) by Mike Venezia
- The Buck Stops Here: The Presidents of the United States by Alice Provensen
Disney The American Presidents: James Monroe
Joke: After passing the Monroe Doctrine, what did President Monroe tell Europe?
See you on the other tide!
Looking for all of my American History Lessons?
(Links to my middle school level
American History lessons can be found at https://hubpages.com/education/ColonialismWeeks3-8 .)
Native Americans & Columbus Lesson
Thirteen Colonies Lesson
French and Indian War Lesson
Colonial Period & Revolution Rumblings Lesson
Boston Massacre & Boston Tea Party Lesson
First Shots & Declaration of Independence Lesson
American War for Independence Battles Lesson
Valley Forge & Battle of Yorktown Lesson
American Literature Lesson & American War for Independence Review
Colonial Christmas Party
Three Branches of Government Lesson
President George Washington Lesson
Louisiana Purchase Lesson
War of 1812 Lesson
Monroe Doctrine Lesson
Trail of Tears Lesson
Oregon Trail & Battle of Alamo Lesson
California Gold Rush & Pony Express Lesson
American Industrial Revolution Lesson
Underground Railroad Lesson
Abolitionists & Women Suffragists Lesson
Civil War: The Confederate States & Abraham Lincoln Lesson
Civil War Battles Lesson
Civil War Party & End of Year Review Game
Fun, Free Hands-on Unit Studies (My Lessons in All Subjects)
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