|Reagan’s Presidency – Overview
|For a unit on the 1980s, the electoral process, or the presidency, use ProCon.org’s resources on President Ronald Reagan.
|Begin the activity by asking the class to generate a list of the skills and characteristics of a good President. With the list posted, divide the class into an odd number of groups each with an odd number of students. Provide each group with a different resource from the Procon.org Ronald Reagan site. Try the Pro and Con arguments, the background, the chart resources, and the four videos. Explain that each group should use their resource, as well as the class list of skills and characteristics, to determine Ronald Reagan’s strengths and weaknesses as President of the United States. When the groups have had time to complete their task, bring everyone back together and invite each group to report their results to the others.
Follow that with a short explanation of the United States’ electoral system. Finally, hold a class “time-machine election” in which each group represents one state in the union. The winner takes all in each group and the results are tallied by group.
ProCon.org Topic: Ronald Reagan
Subjects: English / ELA / Language Arts, Social Studies, Public Policy, Civics, American Government
Common Core Anchor Standards: CCRA.R.2, CCRA.R.3, CCRA.R.8, CCRA.SL.1, CCSA, SL.2
Common Core Content Standards: RI.7, RI.9, SL.1, SL.2, SL.5, RHST.8
Make the lesson easier
- Provide students with two or more resources, giving them a more complete picture of the Reagan presidency.
- Conduct a popular vote with the entire class, removing the Electoral College part of the lesson.
Make lesson harder
- Allow students time to research other Reagan campaign materials including commercials, debates, and media coverage.
- Have each group submit a justification for their vote that they write together.