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Fact or Fiction Washington's Teeth

George Washington did have false teeth, but were they made of wood? Find out what they were made of and create a poster supporting these facts.

  • Grade 3
    Grade 4
    Grade 5
  • Multiple Lesson Periods
  • Directions

    1. Have a discussion about fact and fiction. Often stories that are totally unfounded are passed down through generations and eventually become part of history. The story of George Washington’s teeth is one of these stories. Though he did have his teeth pulled at age 57 and replaced with false teeth by Dr. John Greenwood, people continue to debate what material they were made from.
    2. Hang a portrait of Washington in the classroom to use as a source for drawing his portrait. Is he smiling? Some say he never smiled because of his teeth. Did he really remove his teeth when he had to talk? Research the subject by using the Internet or the school library.
    3. Use various Crayola® Classic Colored Pencils to record each fact on a small piece of white paper cut from a Marker and Water Color Pad. Cut and paste facts onto a piece of Crayola Construction Paper.
    4. Include a portrait of George Washington either hand drawn or photocopied.
    5. Encourage students to draw a colorful border or other designs to make their artwork unique.
    6. Allow glue to dry on posters.
    7. Provide time in the school day for students to discuss their research findings. Working in small groups, have students write an opinion piece about Washington’s teeth. Display writings with posters.
  • Standards

    LA: Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection and research.

    LA: Write opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons and information.

    LA: Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-to-one, in groups, and teacher led) with diverse partners on grade level topics and texts, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.

    SS: Demonstrate an understanding that different people may describe the same event in diverse ways, citing reasons for the different views.

    VA: Conduct research to support making a work of art or design.

    VA: Demonstrate the skills and habits gained through making art, craft and design.

  • Adaptations

    Research other stories that might have been told about George Washington.

    After discussing myths, play “Whisper Down the Lane.” Give the first child a historical fact and have each student repeat it to the next child. Have the last person repeat it out loud. Discuss how the fact changed.

    The famous portrait of George Washington that hangs in the Rotunda of the Capital Building was painted by Gilbert Stuart, a famous American artist. That portrait was used for the picture of Washington on the dollar bill. If you had the choice to have your portrait on something what would it be?


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  • Creativity.
  • Capacity.
  • Collaboration.
  • Change.
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