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The following lesson plans were developed and tested by Mount Vernon's Education Department and contributing teachers, including graduates of the Estate’s summer George Washington Teachers' Institutes. They are aligned to national curriculum standards, incorporate research, historical thinking, and the use of primary sources, and may be adapted for use across middle grades.
Students analyze primary documents in order to discuss the challenges that George Washington faced as the first president of a new country.
Students examine the Rules of Civility that George Washington hand-copied as a teenager. They then classify and categorize the concerns addressed, discuss what it would be like to live in a world imbued with such guidelines, analyze what expectations govern their own behavior, and generate a list of modern Rules covering the same categories they identified in Washington’s list.
Students examine George Washington’s 1799 Slave Census to discover Washington as a meticulous businessman and slave owner and to gain information about the institution of slavery in the 18th century.
Students focus on George Washington’s character and civic virtues and examine the connection between those virtues and a democratic and free society in the United States.
Students explore why George Washington’s home was able to transcend the sectional differences that split the nation during the Civil War.
Students research, examine and understand four major events in George Washington’s life and present them in a graphic novel format.
Students use cooperative learning, problem solving, and project-based activities to discover journeys George Washington made during the Revolutionary War, create 18th century maps, and compare them to modern state boundaries, towns, and roads.
Students explore and describe Emmanuel Leutze's painting, "George Washington Crossing the Delaware," and research the artist, the Revolutionary war at the time depicted, and the work itself. They then write and perform a one-act play dramatizing the events and action leading up to the crossing.
Students investigate and analyze the historical significance of the Revolutionary War song, “Yankee Doodle” and create their own “Yankee Doodle”-style verses about the War.
Students write a eulogy describing the important contributions George Washington made to our country.
Students use multiple research sources to choose objects and curate their own exhibition on a specific theme of George Washington’s life.
Students examine George Washington's journals and surveys and use a GPS device to survey and map a site at their school.
Students take on the role of a member of the Sons or Daughters of Liberty and write a song, in the genre of their choice, to protest one or more of the British Acts or actions between 1763 and 1774 that eventually led to the American Revolution.