Presidents & Elections Unit


This unit is ©Copyright 2005, 2008, 2012 by Cindy Downes. All rights reserved. Permission is given to homeschooling parents to use these units free of charge in their own homeschool only. These units may not be reprinted in any other form, for any other purpose (commercial or otherwise) without permission from Cindy Downes. Contact her at

A Twelve-Week Unit for Primary Grades.
© Copyright 2005, 2008 by Cindy Downes. All rights reserved.

This unit is designed to give primary-age children a brief introduction to the office of the President and the election process using library books, worksheets, art projects and Internet research. Each week, read the recommended book together, complete suggested activities, and obtain additional information by doing the suggested internet research. This unit is designed to be completed in twelve weeks, completing two, 1 - 2 hour lessons per week; however, you can customize it to any length, depending upon how much material you cover and how long you take to cover it. Read over General Directions for Cindy's Unit Studies for information on how to teach the unit.

Supplies Needed:

  • A 3-ring, view binder for each child.
  • Reading books obtained through the library or purchased through this web site.

Final Project: Each student will prepare a “President and Elections Notebook.” Throughout the unit, add completed worksheets, reports, photos, or drawings to the notebook. At the end of the unit, students can share this notebook with family and friends. Younger children can use the free, My Presidents of the U.S. Report booklet, if desired.

Week 1:

Would you like to be president of the United States? Being the president is a BIG job and it takes a lot of skills to be president. For instance, the president must be a leader. This week, we're going to learn what a leader is. We're also going to learn a little about our past presidents and how people vote for their leaders around the world.

Week 2:

The president must be a man of character and he must know how our government works. This week we are going to learn about character, the work history of past presidents, how our government works, and the history of voting.

Week 3:

A president must know about his country. This week we're going to learn about our current president and about the symbols and landmarks of our country. We're also going to learn some vocabulary related to elections.

  • Read: Meet President Barack Obama. 2009, 24 pgs.
  • Election Vocabulary. You will have to look some of these up in the dictionary: Make a page for your notebook with the definitions written out for the following terms: amendment, ballot, campaign, candidate, caucus, Constitution, convention, debate, delegate, democracy, Democratic Party, electoral college, electoral votes, executive branch, exit poll, inauguration, incumbent, Independent Party, judicial branch, landslide, legislative branch, majority, minority, national convention, nominate, oath, opinion poll, platform, political party, polling place, popular vote, primary, political party, propaganda, registration, Republican Party, running mate, runoff, separation of powers, slate, spin, suffrage, term, third party, turnout, vote.
  • Activity: Know The Landmarks - Travel through the Great American Landmarks Time Machine. Make a drawing of each of the following landmarks: White House, Washington Monument, Plymouth Rock, Golden Gate Bridge, Gateway Arch, Mount Rushmore, and Statue of Liberty.
  • Internet Research - Symbols of US.
  • Activity: Know America’s Symbols (American Flag, Bald Eagle, Great Seal, National Flower)
  • Who is Uncle Sam?
  • Activity: Look at the signatures of some of our presidents. Practice writing your signature and place it in the notebook.
  • Watch the video, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington starring James Stewart. 1939. DVD, 2000.

Week 4:

In order to become president, you have to be elected. This week, we're going to begin to look at the campaign process. We're also going to look at another skill the president needs, a good memory.

Week 5:

Candidates for president are nominated by a political party. This week we're going to learn a little about political parties and symbols. We're also going to begin to discuss issues.

Week 6:

Candidates must campaign for president. They must learn to write and give speeches. Their parties will often create campaign songs and slogans. We're also going to learn what goes on in the polling booth.

Week 7:

Once a candidate is elected, his first job is to give an inauguration speech. This week we're going to learn how the results of the election affects our country and learn more about the inauguration process.

Week 8:

Our president and his family live in the White House while he is in office. This week, we are going to learn about the White House.

Week 9:

Another "first" job of the president is to appoint his Cabinet. This week we are going to learn what the cabinet does and who sits in our current president's cabinet.

  • Read: The President’s Cabinet and How It Grew by Nancy Parker. 1978, ISBN 0819309230. No Photo Available. This book is out of print. Try interlibrary loan at your local library. Order it right away as it takes awhile to locate. This book is worth hunting down.
  • Internet Research on the president's cabinet.
  • More Internet Research on the president's cabinet.
  • Read: How Laws are Made.
  • Worksheet:
  • Activity: Create a chart showing who sits in our current president's cabinet. Include Attorney General and Secretary of: Agriculture, Interior, Commerce, Defense, Labor, Education, State, Energy, Transportation, Health and Human Services, Homeland Defense, Treasury, Housing and Urban Development, Veteran Affairs.
  • Optional: Listen to The U.S. Presidents (purchase); Songs for Teaching Presidents (must purchase). Try to memorize the names of the presidents by singing along.

Week 10:

Now that the president has moved in and has his Cabinet, what is his job like? This week we're going to begin to learn what the president does.

Week 11:

Winding down! We've covered a lot over the last few weeks. How about a break and do something fun?

Week 12:

Now it's time to test your knowledge of what you've learned. You might also want to participate in a Mock Election.

  • National Mock Election.
  • Voting vocabulary quiz.
  • Complete any missed activities.
  • Election Notebook. Look through newspapers and magazine for: photos of candidates, quotes from candidates, poll results, political symbols, political cartoons, news report or editorial about an issue, candidates advertisements, an electoral map, inauguration speech.
  • Finish your notebook and share it with family and friendss

Additional Learning Resources:

Be sure to enter these topics on your copy of The Checklist.

Please let me know if any of these links do not work. Email:



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