Every time a new president is elected in the United States or other parts of the world, kids may begin to wonder about the role of the president. They may know that the president serves as the leader of a country, but what does that mean? Does the president stay in his office all day making decisions? Is his only job to go to events and shake hands?
Begin the lesson by asking students to share ideas about what they think the president does all day. They may say that he makes laws, rides around in a fancy airplane, plays golf, or goes to fancy dinners with other important people. You might be surprised by the ideas kids come up with!
Read About Different Presidents
Take some time to read some stories about presidents. Some iStoryBooks stories to consider include Abraham Lincoln – From the Poorhouse to President or George Washington – the Man Who Wouldn’t Give Up. While these stories include information about how Abraham Lincoln and George Washington grew up, they also offer details about what they did while serving as president, which will give kids an idea of what the president does all day.
Look at the Constitution
Article Two of the United States Constitution outlines the role of the President in the United States. While the language of the Constitution may be too advanced for a lot of students, you should take time to read some of the original to them and then break it down into terms they can understand. Some key points about the role of president include:
- He serves for four years
- He must take an oath to protect and defend the Constitution
- He is Commander in Chief of the Armed Services
- He can grant pardons against people
- He has the ability to make treaties (with the advice and consent of the Senate)
- He signs bills into law
Read the News about the Current President
Look for recent news stories about what the current President has been doing. For example, you can find the schedule of the U.S. President online. Look at the list of activities to get an idea of what the President does all day.
Write About What the President Does
As a class or individually, work with students to create a short picture book about what the president does. Have students include 5 activities that the President does and draw a picture to represent each activity. If you make a single book as a class, consider photocopying the book and actually mailing it to the President to read.