Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum

Go Fish - For First Ladies
Elizabeth Boxley
US History
Time Frame:
3-4 class periods of 45 minutes each
Grade Levels:
5, 6

Classroom/Homework Activity to be performed:

1. Finding primary sources, students will work together as a class to create a master “deck of cards” for 13 first ladies. 


2. Students will work together in pairs (or alone – teacher choice) to research assigned first ladies(s), year(s) in office, corresponding fun facts and historical events.


3. After creating the master answer worksheet, students will create playing cards for each first lady.


4. The teacher may choose whether each student receives a different first lady from history, or whether students may again work together in groups to add cards to the deck.


Meet course objectives and district performance requirements.

Have students engage in examining primary sources

District, state, or national performance and knowledge standards/goals/skills met:

  • MO 3aJ: Apply following major economic concept in the context of the historical period studied: natural resources, labor and capital resources; supply and demand; business cycle; government regulation and deregulation; unemployment and full employment; inflation and deflation; saving and investment; profit.
  • MO 3aP: Survey the functions and effects of major economic institutions of the United States economy, such as corporations, labor unions, and financial institutions.
  • MO 3aW: Describe and evaluate the evolution of United States domestic and foreign policies.
  • MO 7C: Distinguish between fact and opinion and analyze sources to recognize bias and points of view.
  • MO 2C: Analyze the roles and influence of political parties.
  • MO 6L: Analyze how the roles of class, ethnic, racial, gender and age groups have changed in society, including causes and effects.
  • MO 6N: Predict the consequences that can occur when institutions fail to meet the needs of individuals and groups and individuals fail to carry out their personal responsibilities.

Secondary materials (book, article, video documentary, etc.) needed:
Primary materials (book, article, video documentary, etc.) needed:

To be determined by students, but you can point them in the direction of:



Full description of activity or assignment.

Students will pair up and be assigned a first lady to research.  Using the worksheet to guide research, students will learn about and find two primary sources as well as some fun facts to better understand their subject.  Each fact will be documented with a corresponding URL to be graded.

Students will then design their cards so that they use the four facts listed at the top of the worksheet, with each first lady using a number or Jack, Queen, King in all four suits. Ex:



King Bold Fact #1
  First Lady Picture
   Fact #2
 Fact #3
 Fact # 4


Fact 2 is Hearts

Fact 3 is Clubs

Fact 4 is Spades

The highlighted fact will be bold at the top of each card. The other three need to be found by “going fishing”.”




Full explanation of the assessment method and/or scoring guide:

Feel free to assign as many or as few points as you would like to the attached worksheet verifying

URL addresses and accurate information.


As for the playing cards, these can be an optional part of the assignment and can be graded with the attached scoring guide.


This assignment can be modified so that the cards are also a computer design project. If not, students can cut, paste, and otherwise write in the needed facts.

When all cards are completed, give students time to actually play “Go fishing for First Ladies.” Students should read the Fact listed at the top of the card (rotate facts for each suit) so that they actually have to verbalize the fact they are “fishing” for, as in, “Do you have Abigail Adams, married to John Adams?”


Full name of First Lady __________________________________________________

Biography dates born/died _______________________________________________

Full Name of President __________________________________________________

Dates in White House ___________________________________________________

Find TWO of the following using a PRIMARY SOURCE for each and documentation using URL :

  1. A picture/painting


  1.  A letter or some form of correspondence


  1. A quote


Five Interesting facts about first lady or corresponding family with URL documentation
















TWO historical events that happened while the first lady/president were in the White House.





First Ladies Cards Scoring Guide


Name________________________________________  Date___________________________________


First Lady & Assigned Card_______________________________________________________________








Elements of Design

Format is flawless. Excellent spacing, use of picture, and neatly cut in symmetrical rectangles.

Format is nearly error free. Spacing may not be perfect. Picture is used. Cards are nearly symmetrical.

Format has errors but is understandable

Spacing may have errors. Picture may not be used. Cards are useable

Format is lacking. Multiple errors. Picture not used.

No real format.


 All four facts are accurately listed and are neat and easy to read.

All four facts are accurately listed and are legible

All four facts are accurately listed but are difficult to read

There are not all four facts turned in (partial work) Not all four cards finished

No facts listed.


Time is used efficiently and is reflected in finished product. Students have remained on task and/or have helped other students

Student has remained on task the entire time and completed project in a timely manner

Student had to be reminded once to stay on task, but completed project in given time.

Student was reminded multiple times to stay on task, and may or may not have finished in time given.

Very little or no effort was shown. Student may or may not have distracted others and was reminded to stay on task