Students will be able to list the many (common and uncommon) occupations that Presidents (and First Ladies) experienced
before moving into the White House. Students will compare and contrast the various occupations of several presidents throughout U.S. history.
1. Ask students what they think Presidents did before being elected. Allow students to work in groups and make a list. Then have a class discussion about the different occupations.
2. Introduce students to Woodrow Wilson’s biography by explaining the supplied introduction.
3. Ask students how the current job that either (or both) of their parents have influenced the other parent or family members.
4. Instruct students to perform an internet search on five Presidents before Woodrow Wilson and five after, looking for the following information:
- President’s name
- First ladies’ name
- Date of presidency
- the occupations of the President and First ladies’ parents
- the occupations of the President and/or First Lady before their time in the White House.
5. Depending on grade level and ability, have students place the information they gather in chart form using a computer spreadsheet (or paper).
6. Have a class discussion where students explain what trends they located.
7. As a final product, instruct students to submit a poster assignment with images and writing explaining the impact and relevance that prior employment has on a president’s ability to govern.
This lesson was developed by Marian Maxfield, Kent State University