1. Begin the lesson by discussing the notion of awards with the students. Has anyone received an award? What were the circumstances? Why are awards given? What are awards given for?
2. Then, divide the class in seven groups, and, using the web sites listed below, assign each group to research the following:
- The origin of the Medal of Freedom
- The history of the Medal of Freedom since its beginnings
- The meaning of the Medal of Freedom
- The lives of four people who received the award from President Ford (an option would be to not form small groups, and let each student select one person from the entire list of Medal of Freedom recipients.)
3. When the research is completed, each group (or each student) should create a PowerPoint presentation or a set of posters about the Medal of Freedom winners they researched. If posters are chosen, they can be put up around the room or in the hallway.
Casalini, Tom and Wallis, Timothy. Ordinary Heroes: A Tribute to Congressional Medal of Honor Recipients: Reflections of Freedom, Faith, Duty and the Heroic Possibilities of the Everyday Human Spirit. Glendale, CA: Sweet Pea Press, 2001.
Wetterau, Bruce. The Presidential Medal of Freedom: Winners and Their Achievements. Washington, DC: Congressional Quarterly Books, 1996.
The Presidential Medal of Freedom
Medal of Freedom Recipients on Wikipedia
Medal of Freedom Recipients’ Chart
This lesson was developed by Averil McClelland, Kent State University.