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Abraham Lincoln Project Ideas

Instructor: Clio Stearns

Clio has taught education courses at the college level and has a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction.

Abraham Lincoln is one of the most inspiring presidents in the history of the United States. This lesson offers you some ideas for projects that will help students appreciate his life and works.

Why Abraham Lincoln Projects?

Very often, when students learn about presidents from history, it is hard for them to make real connections and garner lessons about critical thinking from their lives and works. Abraham Lincoln led such an inspiring life and accomplished so much for this country that it would be a shame to let students just memorize his names and dates without really thinking about all that he did. One way to make Lincoln's legacy come to life for students is by giving them the chance to do projects relating to his life and works. The projects in this lesson are designed to access different strengths and learning styles, helping students think about Lincoln through an interdisciplinary lens. You can modify these projects to meet the needs of students from different ages and abilities.

Lincoln's Early Life: A Graphic Novel

Lincoln's early biography has the potential to be really interesting and meaningful for children. Because Lincoln educated himself and really took charge of his own learning and rise to power, his story offers lessons about motivation and ambition. After your students have learned a bit about Lincoln's life prior to becoming president, have them break into partnerships. Each partnership should take responsibility for writing a comic strip or sequence of comics describing one aspect of Lincoln's early experience. When you put all of your students' work together, you will have a graphic novel that describes Lincoln's early life and gets at some of the fundamental aspects of his character and beliefs.

Republicans Then, Republicans Now

One of the things that can be confusing about studying Lincoln's life and times is that it requires a different vocabulary for talking about politics. For instance, the party that was the Republicans espoused very different philosophies from many Republicans today. Other words that might be confusing and unfamiliar to students include confederacy, Democrats, Copperheads, assassination, and secession, among others. Have your students make a then and now dictionary that describes the meaning of key political terms in Lincoln's time as well as the meaning of the terms in today's world. They can provide specific examples or illustrations to help them make sense of these terms.

Gettysburg Address Quotes

Perhaps Lincoln's most memorable speech was his famous Gettysburg Address, which really gets at his beliefs about what the United States is and why equality is important. Share a transcript of the Gettysburg Address with your students, and help them do a close reading for good comprehension. Then, ask each student to pull out one quote that is particularly meaningful. They should write these quotes at the top of a piece of paper, then paint an illustration depicting what the quote means to them. You can use their completed works to start a Gettysburg Address gallery in your classroom, and let them talk about their works with one another.

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