Breaking and Mending the Two-Term Precedent

This lesson draws a connection between George Washington’s establishment of the two-term precedent for the presidency and Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s breaking of that precedent nearly 150 years later. In this lesson, students will analyze multiple primary and secondary sources, both collaboratively and independently. Discussion and debate is a large focus of this lesson. Students will make interdisciplinary connections between history and government/civics. This resource was created by 2013-2014 Life Guard Teacher Fellow Hannah Markwardt. 

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Bullet Journaling with Washington

This activity connects students to George Washington's meticulous record keeping by equating it with modern day bullet journaling. Students will look at a 1793 Farm Report made by one of Washington's overseers and was sent to him while he was President. They will then keep a bullet journal for a week to experiment with recording their own information. By reflecting on their experience they will be able to get a better understanding of Washington and his personality. 

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Choose Your Weapon

This activity recreates the distribution of Washington's swords between his five nephews after his death. In groups of five, students will learn about five of George Washington's swords, after which they work together to choose which sword they would pick. They will consequently learn about how swords were used in the 18th century to represent a person's rank and identity, as well as the situation they are in. Students will also realize how artifacts are not static and their lives continue beyond their original use. 

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Disease During Wartime

A lesson plan that draws a connection between the threat of smallpox during the Revolutionary War and the influenza pandemic during World War I. In this lesson, students will utilize educational technology to consult primary, secondary, and tertiary sources in the completion of a webquest. Writing across the curriculum is a large focus of this lesson. Students will make interdisciplinary connections between history and science (specifically biology). This resource was created by 2013-2014 Life Guard Teacher Fellow Hannah Markwardt. 

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George Washington's Foreign Policy

A lesson that asks students to connect George Washington’s Farewell Address to later presidential foreign policy messages. As a group, the class will discuss the influence Washington’s message had on the nation and posterity. Working in groups, students investigate excerpts from later presidential foreign policy messages and compare and contrast these with Washington’s Farewell Address. A Socratic Seminar analyzing past U.S. foreign policy also asks students to chart a course for future U.S. foreign policy.

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The Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association: The Possibilities and Debates in a Civil Society

Just like Ann Pamela Cunningham, the founder of the Mount Vernon ladies’ association and defender of George Washington’s legacy, students can use persuasive language to motivate others to care about an important civic challenge they hope to address.  Through the analysis of a primary source and a civics activity, this learning resource empowers students to see themselves as citizens whose voices matter and who have agency to collaboratively confront problems in our world today.

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Washington's Complex Views on Slavery

This integrated lesson connects the civic concepts of A People with Contemporary Debates & Possibilities and We the People to the life of George Washington and his varying views on enslavement.  It allows teachers to support students’ ability to engage in the difficult conversations that are necessary to support a diverse democratic society and reflect critical understanding of how our shared history and experiences contribute to contemporary society

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George Washington, the Farewell Address, and National Unity

Are you looking for a way to incorporate civics into your high school classroom? This learning resource connects the concept of informed civic agency to George Washington’s significance as a visionary for the nation’s future.  Through primary source analysis and a creative civics activity, this resource empowers students to see themselves as citizens with responsibilities to engage in civic participation and who have agency to research and collaboratively participate in civic disagreement.

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Washington and Mount Vernon as National Symbols of Liberty and Enslavement

This learning resource connects the concept of informed civic agency to George Washington’s significance as a national symbol in rhetoric. Two leading 19th-century African-American orators provide different perspectives on George Washington’s legacy in the century after his death. Through the analysis of primary sources and a creative civics activity, this learning resource empowers students to see themselves as citizens whose voices matter and who have agency to collaboratively confront problems in our world today.

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U.S Policy with Indian Nations

How did the United States government develop policies towards Indian nations during George Washington’s presidency?  How were Indian societies and cultures affected by U.S. policies?  This integrated lesson explores how the United States government, American citizens and Indian nations asserted rights to their lands during Washington’s presidency.  Students will study the changing landscape of our nation and who benefited from and was harmed by these changes.

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A Grub Hoe

This activity is designed to question students' assumptions on how labor was divided at Mount Vernon. Students will look at an artifact (the grub hoe) and then analyze primary and secondary sources to reinterpret that artifact. They will learn that enslaved women primary worked in the fields, while enslaved men usually did "skilled" tasks. This is an activity that will illustrate how gender binaries are constructed and have changed throughout history. It also reinforces students' STEM skills, such as percentages and ratios. 

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The Only Unavoidable Subject of Regret: The Founders' Failure to End Slavery

This DBQ style lesson asks students to use multiple primary and secondary sources to evaluate the statement: Ideals and moral concerns regarding human equality and the evils of slavery espoused over the course of the Founding Era were impossible to carry out and enforce due to the economic necessity and racial dynamics of slavery. This lesson was created by 2016-2017 Life Guard Teacher Fellow Michael Ellis.

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Snuff Box and Hogshead

This activity compares two containers of tobacco- one on the production side and the other on the consumption side to show how tobacco was made and sold in the Colonies and in England. Students will analyze a snuff box and hogshead as well as British advertisements for tobacco and snuff to understand the importance of tobacco to the 18th century. It also shines a light on how slavery was the foundation of Colonial and English economy, government, and lifestyle. 

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Which Grace: Analysis of Historical Resources

A lesson challenging students to analyze primary and secondary sources to answer the question How many enslaved individuals named Grace, Isaac, and Suckey were there at Mount Vernon from 1750-1799? Using information available to researchers and scholars at the Washington Library, students become historians as they work to answer a question that has no definitive answer. As an optional extension, students can create a biography about one of the individuals identified in their research. 

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