President George Washington Lesson for Kids
This is the 15th lesson in a series of 27 hands-on lessons covering American History through 1865. This lesson focuses on President George Washington. 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!
Student Biography Presentation: George Washington
1. Student biography presentation on George Washington
Review & Introduction to President Washington
2. Review: What is the document that tells the rules for how America's government will run? (Constitution) What do we call the first part of the Constitution? (Preamble) Let's sing the Preamble again. [Sing it twice while flipping through the book that includes pictures.] How many branches are there in our government? (3) Can you name 1? (legislative, executive, judicial) What does the legislative branch do? (makes laws) What does the executive branch do? (executes/enforces/carries out the laws) What does the judicial branch do? (judges the laws)
You will need:
- We the Kids: The Preamble to the Constitution of the United States by David Catrow or We the People: The Constitution of the United States by Peter Spier (which also has words to illustrate the text of the Preamble -- though the pictures are smaller) OR a monitor or projector to show the SchoolHouse Rock video
3. Who is the head of the executive branch? (President) Does anyone know who our first President was? (George Washington) Read George Washington: First President 1789-1797 (Getting to Know the U.S. Presidents) by Mike Venezia.
You will need:
- George Washington: First President 1789-1797 (Getting to Know the U.S. Presidents) by Mike Venezia or other book on George Washington as President
This gives a nice overview of George Washington's life including his time as President. My children love this series that combines silly illustrations with historic paintings or photographs. The text amount is perfect for this age.
Gilbert Stuart's portrait
4. Show the children a copy of Gilbert Stuart's portrait of George Washington. Ask the children these questions from Picturing America:
- Describe Washington's face & clothing.
- Do you think he was old or young when this painting was made? (He was in his 60s.)
- Point to the rainbow, the books, & the saber/sword. Why do you think those are in the painting? (rainbow=hope for our country, books are about our government, saber = he led the Continental Army)
- Does he look like a king? Why or why not?
You will need:
- a copy of Gilbert Stuart's portrait of George Washington (from a book or online)
Dancing the Minuet
5. George Washington loved to go to parties to dance. He was wonderful at dancing a particular dance called the Minuet. We're going to attempt dancing a simplified minuet. [Play some minuet music.]
- Girls stand in 1 line & boys stand in another line. (I stood in front of both lines, modeled, & called the directions.)
- Point your left foot & bend your knee
- Step with your right foot
- Step together (point with your left foot & bend your knee)
- Step left
- Step right
- Step left
- Repeat 1 more time
You will need:
- minuet music & a fun sense of humor
Basic idea of the simplified version of the minuet
George Washington Wheel
6. Create George Washington Wheels: Where will I find Washington's name or picture? (Have children guess their answers before you show them the little pictures they'll be pasting on their wheels.) Allow children to cut these out themselves unless they need assistance. After they've added the brad to the middle, they can paste the wheel to the blank sheet of paper so they can place it in their history binders. If children finish early, they can color the pictures.
You will need per child:
- a sheet of blank paper punched with 3 hole punch
- 2 Lapbook Wheel Pages printed free from homeschoolshare.com
- Student supplies: scissors, glue sticks, & crayons
Cherries & Review
7. People loved George Washington & said wonderful things about him. Something they said a lot was how honest he was. They liked to tell a story about when he was a child, he chopped down his dad's cherry tree. He was so honest that he walked up to his dad & said, "Father, I cannot tell a lie. I chopped down your tree." This probably didn't really ever happen, but people sure did love that story! Whenever you see cherries, you can think about how honest our first President was. Pass out a snack of cherries.
You will need:
- bing cherries or other cherries - fresh if they're in season or frozen if they're not (be careful with the pits)
8. Even though lots of people remember George Washington as being honest, he wanted to be remembered for loving Jesus. On his tomb he had inscribed John 11:25-26, "I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die."
9. Review: Who was our first president? (George Washington) What is something you learned about him today?
10. Assign next week's student biography on Sacagawea
A Book to Read Each Day
Plus 2 Audio Books
We read through a huge stack of books. In addition to the one used in this lesson, these were our favorites:
- Farmer George Plants a Nation by Peggy Thomas
- Martha Washington (On My Own Biography) by Candice Ransom
- George Washington's Breakfast by Jean Fritz
- The Escape of Oney Judge: Martha Washington's Slave Finds Freedom by Emily Arnold McCully
- George Washington: Leading a New Nation (Graphic Biographies) by Matt Doeden
- President George Washington by David A. Adler
- Great Stories: George Washington, Henry Ford, Honey Creek Heroine Plus 7 More Adventures (Your Story Hour, Vol. 2) Audio CD
- Rush Revere and the Presidency by Rush Limbaugh (We love the audio version!)
Liberty Kids: The Man Who Wouldn't Be King
Optional Homework: Memorize this song about George Washington's Presidency
Joke: Why did George Washington have trouble sleeping?
Because he couldn't lie!
Looking for all of my American History Lessons?
(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)
© 2018 Shannon