President George W. Bush greets fourth graders, January 5, 2004, at Pierre Laclede Elementary School in St. Louis, Missouri. (P36885-10)
Education

First Grade

Democracy Lesson & Activities

Democracy is rule by the people. Democracy is when people rule their community no matter how large or small mainly by voting. There are so many people in the United States that its citizens elect representatives of various titles to speak for them when making decisions and laws. When children learn the concepts such as freedom, equality for all, independence, and voting it opens their understanding of democracy. It introduces them to the importance of the Declaration of Independence, the foundation of American Democracy. These simple activities listed below allow first grade students to look at their local, state, and federal governments and identify examples of how citizens rule through voting and the use of representatives:

  • Reading books about the Revolutionary War, Declaration of Independence, and voting.
  • Vocabulary Words (Use these words for teachable moments, have students make flashcards, or a democracy book using words):
    • America
    • Freedom
    • Equality
    • Emblem
    • Flag
    • Independence
    • Patriotic
    • Pledge
    • Allegiance
    • Union
  • Guide students in a discussion of examples of local, state, and federal laws or ordinances, etc. that have been voted on that govern their lives. Make a chart of discussion.
  • Using the back of a postcard, have students make an American Flag with red, white, and blue tissue paper. If you do not have tissue paper, allow students to use paint, markers, or crayons.
  • Teach first graders the American patriotic song, My Country Tis of Thee.

Presidents Lesson & Activities

The President of the United States is elected by the citizens of the United States to manage or take care of the country and the people that live and visit it. The President is hired for 4 years then he or she must be in an election to see if the American citizens will choose them again. A person can only be hired twice to be President. Use the activities listed below to help first graders understand how Presidents are elected and what the President’s job is:

  • Read books about elections and voting.
  • Vocabulary Words (Use these words for teachable moments. Have students make flashcards using words):
    • Vote
    • Leadership
    • Oath
    • Revolution
    • Politics
    • Commander
    • Constitution
    • Congress
    • Elected
    • Federal
  • Guide students in a discussion about the jobs and roles of President.
  • Have first graders make a Presidents book with the following information for all 45 Presidents:
    • Year Born and Year Died
    • Dates of Presidency
    • Vice President
    • Name of Spouse
    • A Few Fun Facts
  •  Teach children the American Presidents in order by memory using any fun Presidents song for students found online/You-Tube.

7 Continents and Landforms Lesson & Activities

Teaching the 7 Continents and Landforms can be creative and fun. The activities below will help develop spatial thinking or geographical thinking:

  • Read books about different countries and landforms around the world.
  • Vocabulary Words (Use these words for teachable moments, have students make flashcards, or a landform book using words):
    • Equator
    • Water
    • Compass
    • Lake
    • Ocean
    • Sea
    • Land 
    • Stream
    • Forest
    • Peninsula
    • Volcano
  • Have first graders explore different landforms through websites on the internet.
  • Guide students in a discussion about the locations of landforms and the 7 Continents. Then make a chart of your discussion in the form of a flat map showing placement of Continents and other global landforms.
  • Have a first grade students sculpt their favorite landform using molding/sculpting clay and paint. You can also look on the internet for how to make sculpting clay out of flour.
  • Assign a family project. Have first graders and their families make a volcano.

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