In this assignment, students have to think critically about former U.S. Presidents to decide whether they were more authoritarian or libertarian, and more capitalist or socialist in their leanings. I use this assignment early in my American Government class to get them thinking about all of the important decisions our leaders must make. This assignment would work best in an AP class, but I use it with my regular 12th grade students. By the end of the two days, they will have demonstrated the ability to:
-Do research effectively
-Understand complex political ideas
-Argue on behalf of a given viewpoint and defend it with facts
-Order their thoughts and think critically
-Collaborate effectively with their peers
This assignment is great if you want to make sure your group work is meaningful and your students are challenged. You could edit it to make it a longer unit or shorten it by giving only one President to each group and having them present to the class. Within this activity there are tremendous possibilities, and the framework you will find useful in other lessons in the future. Best of luck!