This is my favorite Civics Project of the year! I present it to the students the second week of Civics. I actually dress up as Thomas Jefferson and give a model lesson as Jefferson. Then I give out the assignment.
You have to be a good planner as you do this assignment. Each student will have a different due date for the assignment, so you must have a solid civics map as you implement this in your classroom.
This is a mainly independent assignment and students research this outside of class. I have found this assignment to be a huge success and out of 180 students only had two who did not complete it!
The goal is for students to learn and research a political figure from history of the present day. They then present what they have learned in a 5-10 minute presentation while the class takes notes on the presentation. The presentations take place as they occurred in history. For instance, as you teach the begins of our Civic system, the people presenting on George Washington and John Adams would present. Then as you get to state and local government, the students presenting on your governor and state senators would present. When you do the Judicial Branch the students presenting on the Supreme Court Justices would present, etc. So, as I said, you have to plan ahead, the planning takes a long time, but it is definitely worth it in the long run.
What is included in this handout? The first two pages of the handout are the instructions and the rubric. Also included is the note taker for the presentation days and a self reflection for students to complete after they have presented. There is also a list of websites for students to use as a research tool. There is a list of characters for students to choose from, the list is centered around California, so you may need to add / delete figures based on your state. I try to save paper, so the websites lists can be cut into strips (three per page) you can also give each student just one note taker and have them keep it and then write their answers on a separate page. To save time, I collected the first few in class note takers and then collected them randomly, but we reviewed them as a class after each presentation.
Please email with any questions. Hope you enjoy!