Famous Americans – Early Elementary

Target Audience: 
Grades 2-3
Cost: 
Free
Requirements for Participation: 

There are 6 spots in each program open to interested MAGPI members with H.323 videoconference capabilities.

Have your students explore American History as they research and portray famous Americans as part of this engaging, interactive videoconference! Each participating class will give three "60 second" presentations about three different famous Americans. Snapshots should include pertinent facts about the famous American - - and the student representing the famous American should be dressed like the person they are portraying. After the presentations, there will be a 5 minute "reflection period" where teachers can facilitate classroom discussion and students can deduce which famous Americans were being portrayed.

Each school will get a turn to present. After schools select which three Americans they will research, presentations will be grouped by category. For example, three different schools might present as part of the "Famous American Women" category and those same schools might also have a presentation as part of the "American Explorers" category. Categories will be determined at least one week prior to the videoconference event.

This project is adaptable for whatever content area you are covering as part of your social studies curriculum. If there is a famous American that you would like your students to investigate - - and he or she is not already on the list - - we'd be happy to add that person!

Program Outline:

  • Welcome/Introductions (10 Minutes)
    Each site will have 30 seconds to introduce their school. Introductions should be creative and should include: the school’s name, where the school is located, class information and interesting fact about your school or community.
  • Category 1 (11 minutes)
    Presentations, Class Reflection/Discussion Period, Present Guesses
  • Category 2 (11 minutes)
    Presentations, Class Reflection/Discussion Period, Present Guesses
  • Category 3 (11 minutes)
    Presentations, Class Reflection/Discussion Period, Present Guesses
  • Category 4 (11 minutes)
    Presentations, Class Reflection/Discussion Period, Present Guesses
  • Wrap-Up (5 Minutes)

Pre-Videoconference Activities:

  • Select Your 3 Famous Americans: Select your mystery famous Americans and email your selection to Heather Weisse Walsh at hweisse@magpi.net so she can check for duplicates. Your selection is due 2 weeks prior to your videoconference program.
  • Research your Famous Americans: Your students' classroom presentation should give a series of “clues” about the famous Americans you are portraying, including: Date/Place of Birth; Family Information; Important events or stories about this person as an adult and/or child; If the person living or deceased? If deceased, what was the date/cause of death (if known or applicable); Why this is person remembered/known? What was this person’s most significant contribution to society?; Miscellaneous clues that will help students determine who your students are portraying.
  • Create your Presentation!
  • Each classroom should plan three 60 second “snapshot” presentation. Talk to your technology or distance learning coordinator to determine the possibilities available to you in your distance learning room. Your technology coordinator can help you gather the necessary equipment and will be helpful to you in preparing your presentation.Your students' classroom presentation should give a series of “clues” about the famous Americans you are portraying, including:
    • When creating your presentation, please recognize the need to clearly communicate the clues. Each student(s) portraying a Famous American should be dressed as their character/personality would dress. You’ll find tips and more information in the Teacher’s Guide [PDF]!

Post-Videoconference Activities:

  • Reflect: Have students write a written reflection about the program or conduct a classroom dialogue with students. Some questions to consider: what did they like about the project? What new facts did they learn? What did they learn about research? What surprised them about the other schools’ presentations?

National Educational Standards:

Participation in this program satisfies the following content standards, as outlined by the National Council for the Social Studies:

  • Students will understand the history of the United States: democratic principles and values and the people from the many cultures who contributed to its cultural, economic and political heritage.