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Thomas Jefferson Activities for Kids

Instructor: Clio Stearns

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

Learning about Thomas Jefferson can be an important way for kids to learn more about the history of the United States. This lesson offers activities designed to enliven your instruction about Jefferson's life and work.

Teaching Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson is a complicated character in American history. In addition to being the third president of the United States, he was a key thinker who wrote extensively about philosophy, politics, and education. Jefferson has also been a somewhat controversial figure because of his ownership and treatment of slaves as well as because of some of his thinking.

To help your students understand the nuances of Jefferson's life and work, it can be helpful to incorporate hands-on activities into your instruction. The activities in this lesson are designed to appeal to students with different learning styles and to help them think deeply about Thomas Jefferson.

Visual Activities

Some students do their best learning when they work with images and graphic organizers. This section offers visual activities that will appeal to these learners.

Jefferson in Three Portraits

Thomas Jefferson played many different roles throughout his life. As students learn about him, have them create portraits of him in three different settings or at three different times in his life. They might create portraits of him in childhood, at the Constitutional Congress, at Monticello, or after attaining the presidency, among other possibilities. Once they are finished, hang their portraits for others to view, as well as to compare and contrast.

The presidential portrait of Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson presidential portrait

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