Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum

First Ladies Interview
Sarah Brought
US History
Time Frame:
2 fifty minute class periods
Grade Levels:
8, 9, 10, 11, 12

Classroom/Homework Activity to be performed:
  • The students will be putting together a series of “interviews” they conducted about the first ladies. Their objective will be to answer a series of questions about a specific First Lady. The students will research a specific First Lady enough to conduct answers that could have been a possible answer to the question, as if they were talking to her. The questions will be in regards to their role on the presidential campaign, their influence on their husbands, their role as the First Lady, their focus while in the White House, their favorite aspect of being the First Lady and their impact on the nation.  By having three government classes and each student doing one First Lady (or two for those who were not in the White House long or at all) I will put all their “interviews” together into a book.

  • I want the students to research and use primary sources to form their own explanations. By having the students conduct an “interview” over their First Lady I think it will personalize their research more. I think that the students will be able to connect and be more interested in the research about their First Lady.

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

  • T1. S5. Using a government lens, describe how peoples’ perspectives shaped the sources/artifacts they created.
  • T4. S5. Evaluate factors that shape public opinion on elections and policy issues.

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

Full description of activity or assignment.
  • As a class we will discuss what the students think the role of the First Lady is.
  • Then, I will have the students sign up for a specific first day to research.
  • They will be given the following questions to answer. They will be told that they are to form the answers to questions based on the information they find about their First Lady. They need to use the research to answer the question like the First Lady might have if they were actually conducting the interview.
  • They will then type the question and answers they formed as if they were actually writing the interview down.
  • We will then talk about their answers and how they view their First Lady as a class. We will also discuss if their view of the role of the First Lady has changed at all.
  • I will provide the students with links that will be helpful for them to search sources for their specific First Lady.

Full explanation of the assessment method and/or scoring guide:
  • The students will be graded on their research and their answers to the interview questions. Their research needs to be cited and summarized into their own words. Then they need to take their summaries and form their answers off that information. The students will be require to use minimum of three primary sources. For the interview questions, the students will need to answer the questions as if their First Lady was actually answering the question. I will look at how they used the research to form their answers and if their research is found in the answer. The information from their sources needs to be evident in their answers.