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Lesson Plan

Presidential Speeches by Discovery Education


Social Studies (NYS K-12 Framework Common Core)

Grade Levels

Intermediate, Commencement, 6th Grade, 7th Grade, 8th Grade, 9th Grade, 10th Grade, 11th Grade, 12th Grade


1 hour each


Students will listen to and analyze a presidential speech in order to understand the principles held by the president and the historical context in which the speech was made; prepare and hold a campaign and reelection simulation involving the featured presidents to compare leadership qualities; research and collect historical information surrounding each featured president and play a trivia game based on this information.


Try the following activities:

  1. A Few Choice Words
    Discover the meaning behind the words of the presidents by taking a closer look at these speeches.
  2. Reelection Simulation
    How different would things be if we reelected one of our past presidents? Judge for yourself.
  3. Presidential Scavenger Hunt
    Uncover some interesting facts about the presidents and the times in which they lived.

Image Credit:
Special Collections Library
Duke University
Developing an understanding of human experience and culture requires access to historical documentation in many forms and subject areas. The Special Collections Library at Duke University preserves such documentation and promotes its use. While the library�s holdings are developed in relation to instructional and research interests in the University, they are available for use by visiting scholars and the general public as well as Duke faculty and students.


Step back in time and hear some of the most memorable presidential speeches of the postwar era. The six Presidential Media Pages below provide links to the past.

Dwight D. Eisenhower
John F. Kennedy
Lyndon B. Johnson
Ronald Reagan
Richard M. Nixon
Jimmy Carter

These audio files can be experienced by downloading a file (slowest method) or using RealAudio or RealPlayer plug-ins (both featuring streamed audio for real time playback). The RealPlayer plug-in is free to download. They can be found at RealPlayer.For your convenience, the download times are provided for each speech. After listening to these speeches, try some of the related activities.


Access this resource at:

Presidential Speeches

Content Provider

Discovery Education

Discovery Education offers a breadth and depth of digital media content that is immersive, engaging and brings the world into the classroom to give every student a chance to experience fascinating people, places, and events. All content is aligned to state standards, can be aligned to custom curriculum, and supports classroom instruction regardless of the technology platform.

Whether looking for a digital media library service, an implementation to help you transition your classroom to a 21st century environment or to move completely to replace textbooks with digital resources, Discovery Education offers a continuum of solutions to meet your district's specific needs. In addition, we offer real-time assessment services and a variety of professional development to ensure effective implementation in the classroom. You know your needs. We know our services. Together we can create an effective solution.

And, add the vast number of additional classroom instruction opportunities available such as virtual experiences, compelling Discovery talent, free lesson plans and materials, and a variety of contests and challenges and with Discovery Education teachers are truly able to give students opportunities to soar beyond the traditional textbook for endless possibilities.

Credits: Jay Lamb and Sandy Lamb, Secondary history and social studies teachers at Thomas Jefferson High School in Alexandria, VA.

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