The White House

The White House lesson plan

Create a replica of the U.S. White House! Learn about the building's history, architecture, and its famous occupant's role in U.S. government.

  • 1.

    During an investigation into the organization of the 3 branches of the U.S. government, ask students to research information about the branch of government that is centered in the U.S. White House. What are the roles of the president and cabinet? Contrast those roles with those of members of Congress, who meet in the U.S. Capitol Building, and the Supreme Court.

  • 2.

    Learn about the architecture, various sections and wings, floor plan, and entrances and lawn of the White House. Select a portion of the building to make a three-dimensional model. These directions are for the North entrance. Challenge students to use their own ideas as they re-create this building.

  • 3.

    With Crayola® Scissors, students cut cardboard into the round shape of the pool on the north lawn. To form pillars, cut six cardboard tubes up their sides. Roll them and keep the pillars tight with masking tape.

  • 4.

    Students cover their work areas with recycled newspaper. Using Crayola Tempera Paint and Paint Brushes, paint two pieces of cardboard white to use for the White House and portico. Paint the pillars white. Paint the bottom of a box lid green to resemble the lawn. Paint the pool and a sheet of construction paper blue to use for windows. Paint several cotton swabs or craft sticks black for the fence. Dry.

  • 5.

    Pool and flowers: Using Crayola School Glue, attach the pool to the middle of the lawn. With Crayola Model Magic create flowers growing around the pool.

  • 6.

    Building: Cut a large piece of the white cardboard in the shape of the White House. Draw the roof, chimneys, and railings with Crayola Fine Tip Markers. Glue the building to the side of the lawn.

  • 7.

    Windows and door: Using Crayola Colored Pencils, draw windows on the blue paper. Cut them out and glue them to the White House in two rows. Create a front door in the same manner and glue it into place.

  • 8.

    Portico: Cut a piece of white cardboard to form a portico that extends from the building. Glue the pillars to the front and sides of the portico. Glue the back of the portico to the White House roof. Dry.

  • 9.

    Shrubs: With Crayola Crayons, color coffee filters various shades of green to make shrubs. Then run streaks of green and yellow Crayola Washable Markers through them. Spray the filters with water to blend colors so they look more realistic. Dry. Stuff the painted shrubs with more coffee filters. Glue shrubs around the north lawn.

  • 10.

    Fence: Glue the painted cotton swab fence together. Use chenille sticks or craft sticks for crossbars. Place a coil of Model Magic around the lawn and push the fence into it. For more support, add glue.

  • 11.

    Flag: On white paper, use Crayola Fabric Crayons to create and color a U.S. flag. Use a heavy layer of crayon so it will transfer well. Remember to draw and color the flag in reverse so that when ironed it will come out correctly. On a flat surface, place several blank sheets of white paper over layers of newspaper for ironing. Place white synthetic fabric (not 100% cotton) on the paper, face up. Lay design face down near one end of fabric. Top with white paper. An adult sets an iron on cotton, with no steam, and preheats it. The adult places the iron in one spot, presses down, then lifts and moves the iron to another spot until the entire design is transferred. Cool. Glue the flag to a drinking straw or craft stick and attach it to the top of the White House.

Standards

  • LA: Read and comprehend informational texts, including history/social studies, science, and technical texts, at the high end of the grade level text complexity band independently and proficiently.
  • LA: Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher led) with diverse partners on grade level topics and texts, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.
  • LA: Conduct short research projects to answer a question, drawing on several sources and refocusing the inquiry when appropriate.
  • LA: Report on a topic or text, tell a story, or recount an experience with appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details, speaking clearly at an understandable pace.
  • MATH: Solve problems involving measurement and conversion of measurements from a larger unit to a smaller unit.
  • SS: Describe ways in which language, stories, folktales, music, and artistic creations serve as expressions of culture and influence behavior of people living in a particular culture.
  • SS: Identify examples of institutions and describe the interactions of people with institutions.
  • SS: Explain the purpose of government.
  • SS: Identify and use various sources for reconstructing the past, such as documents, letters, diaries, maps, textbooks, photos, and others.
  • VA: Intentionally take advantage of the qualities and characteristics of art media, techniques, and processes to enhance communication of experiences and ideas.
  • VA: Describe and place a variety of art objects in historical and cultural contexts.
  • VA: Describe ways in which the principles and subject matter of other disciplines taught in the school are interrelated with the visual arts.

Adaptations

  • Possible classroom resources include: The White House: An Illustrated History by Catherine O. Grace; Our White House: Looking In, Looking Out by NCBLA
  • Working in small groups, students investigate one of the branches of the U. S. Government in-depth. Organize research into an electronic format for presentation to classmates.
  • Encourage the class to work together to build a complete replica of the entire White House complex. Incorporate labels to identify each area.
  • Students research the history of the Capital Building, the Supreme Court, or one of the national monuments in the country's capital. Create a 3-D model of the building or monument. Use recycled cardboard to crate the base of the 3-D model. Cut the base large enough to incorporate significant research about the focus of the model.
  • Students create a large map of Washington, D.C. Using Crayola Model Magic, create 3-D models of each of the buildings and monuments researched by classmates. Place the models in their appropriate location on the map.