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Impact II: Projects & Lesson Plans: The White House Project

The White House Project

HOW IT WORKS
The White House Project exposes children to different facts about the history of the White  House and the electoral process in the United States. The students research the White House using various books (gathered from the class and school libraries) and the Internet. The teacher locates relevant web sites, such as www.EnchantedLearning.com/dictionary.html, which explains how a president is elected in the United States. Another, www.whitehouse.gov/kids/, is an early-childhood interactive  site that takes the student on a tour of the White House. The teacher begins by reading Woodrow, the White House Mouse by Peter W. Barnes to the class. Then students hold a mock presidential election and have a discussion  on how a president is elected. The class brainstorms ideas about democracy, which are used to create a poem about that subject matter. The students then split up into groups. Each group researches a different room in the White House. They write up their facts and paste them into the windows of a cutout of the White House. The students also write letters to President  George W. Bush. 

THE STUDENTS
The students were second graders, with 25 students in the class. The students worked in pairs and small groups. Eight students worked on the computers every day, four at a time. Their writing began in their writing journals and was then transferred to the computer. This project can easily be adapted for other grades. 

THE STAFF 
Dyana O’Brien currently teaches second grade at P.S. 314m Luis Munoz Marin School. She has taught there for three years and has worked with colleagues to develop an active environment rich with different learning styles and opportunities. Allison Demas assisted on this program. She has been an early childhood teacher for the past 16 years. 

WHAT YOU NEED
Necessary materials include a computer with Internet access, chart paper, writing materials,  the book Woodrow, the White House Mouse, and timely periodicals. 

OVERALL VALUE 
Through this program, the students are exposed to the history of the White House as a physical structure, not just a political symbol. They also explore the background of the White House—its creation, residents, and events. The intent is to have the students realize that it is not just a symbol, but a home, and the residents are not just photographs in books, but human beings with experiences common to all people. They also become familiar with the rules governing the presidential election in the United States and learn and discuss the concept of democracy. The students gain the abilities necessary to research a topic and sort information, and they learn how to work cooperatively with partners and in small groups. 


View the Curriculum Unit/Dissemination Packet

CURRICULUM AREAS
Social Studies
Language Arts
Math
Technology

GRADES
Grade 2-8

MORE INFORMATION

Dyana O’Brien
Luis Munoz Marin School
P.S. 314m
Luis Munoz Marin School
330 59th Street
Brooklyn, NY 11220
dyana610@aol.com
Principal:
 Catherine Cortes

IMPACT II Catalog 2001-2002

 

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