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Make and Play a U.S. Presidents Card Game

written by: Kathy Foust • edited by: Laurie Patsalides • updated: 9/11/2012

This elementary social studies lesson plan uses a game to assist students in learning facts about the Presidents of the United States. Use this fun and creative approach to share presidential facts with your students!

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    How to Use this Lesson Plan

    This elementary social studies lesson plan can be used with other lesson plans of the same topic. It is a very simple way to teach students facts about the presidents. Use whatever lesson plan you normally would with your students, then verbally quiz them on facts about the presidents. Once students seem to be comfortable in their presidential knowledge, play the game described below to add to their knowledge and reinforce what they already know.

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    Presidents Game

    This is a game created to assist students in learning about the Presidents of the United States. It's fairly simple and fun to play. The Presidents Game can be modified to fit the needs of the students and age levels. It is also a good game for the students to make as it contains facts about the presidents. Simply making the game assists them in learning new facts.

    For this particular version, the game is limited to ten presidents. However, you can use more or less to suit the needs of the students in your classroom. Start by having the students find pictures of the ten presidents chosen. You will also need a pack index cards, preferably unlined. Pictures of the presidents should be small enough to fit onto an index card.

    Once the students have the pictures, ask them to glue the pictures onto an index card. They will also be writing the president's date of birth and death as well as years of presidency. Now make ten Democratic and ten Republican cards. These can be designed in any way, as long as they say "Democrat" or "Republican".

    Make one card for each state each president is from. If there are two from the same state, then make two of those cards. When you are done, you should have ten "State" cards for the game. Once the "State" cards are made, make a "Fact" card for each president. This is done by listing random but important or even fun facts on each card.

    On every card, put a symbol for each president so that you have ten sets of five cards each. each set should have their own symbol. This is to assist the students with remembering what card goes with which President. Now, make five "Wild" cards.

    How to play the Presidents Game:

    Deal five cards to each player. Place the deck face down and draw a card off the top to flip face up.The first player draws a card and must play a card that matches facts with whatever card is face up. Once all four cards have been played on it, the player can switch Presidents. Depending on the age group, the player can either continue to draw cards until they have the appropriate card to discard or they can simply draw one card and if they don't have the appropriate card, then the next player goes. For instance, if President Lincoln's face card comes up, then any card carrying his symbol can be played on it.

    Players can earn points by putting together a four card president set. These are laid face up in front of the player and tallied at the end of the game. Points are generally five points per card. The object of the game is to accumulate points and "go out". To "go out", a player must discard his last card on the public pile. Players with cards in their hands at this point must tally and deduct the cards in their hands from their total score.

    This game also has "Wild" cards which can be used in a variety of ways. A player can play a "Wild" card to fill a set he or she laid down and can use it continue a set on the deck. The "Wild" card can also be used to change sets. So, if the run on the deck is currently President Lincoln, then they can change it to President Kennedy by laying down a "Wild" card and calling "Kennedy".

    Here is an example of the game. Ted Draws a card. The card up on deck is A "Fact" card about President Kennedy. Ted has nothing in his hand about Kennedy, but he does have a "Wild" card. Ted lays down the "Wild" card and calls "President Lincoln". Ted then lays down two more cards that go with President Lincoln. The next player takes a turn and so on. Use this game with any elementary social studies lesson plan on presidents to make learning fun!