50 Years Later: Reflecting on the Life of President John F. Kennedy

Posted by Andrew Gardner on

Fifty years ago today, Americans were jolted by the news that their popular 46-year-old President, John Fitzgerald Kennedy, had been shot and killed by a gunman during a parade in Dallas, Texas. It was an act that shook the nation to its core, and it is considered today to be one of the defining events in American history.

Half a century later, we encourage teachers to help students contextualize the events of November 22, 1963 with our free featured topic on John F. Kennedy. To begin, Tim and Moby provide a 5-minute overview of Kennedy’s life, career, and premature death. After taking our quiz, students can also practice their informational text reading skills with our Related Readings on topics from the Peace Corps, which Kennedy established, to the story behind his Purple Heart award from the U.S. Military. Educators may wish to supplement their teachings with our JFK-related lesson plans, mixed quizzes, and graphic organizers.

In addition, several other BrainPOP resources touch on Kennedy and his legacy, including our Apollo Project movie and our Related Reading on the Cuban Missile Crisis. To more fully understand the times in which Kennedy lived, and the circumstances he faced during his brief tenure as President, the following topics may also be of relevance for your classes today: Civil Rights, Cold War, Martin Luther King, Jr., Vietnam War, Richard Nixon, and 60s Folk.

For K-3 students, our topics on Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King, Jr. may give younger children context for some of the issues of race facing America in the early 1960s, when Kennedy gained prominence in politics. And for those who would like to celebrate Kennedy’s life by taking on the role of U.S. President themselves, our GameUP title, Executive Command, developed by our partners at iCivics, will provide a hands-on gaming experience that will enhance players’ sense of the responsibilities of any U.S. President.

We sincerely hope that our resources surrounding the legacy of John F. Kennedy will provide your students with a feel for the times in which Kennedy lived, the challenges he faced, and the accomplishments he made in working for the people of the United States before he was cut down senselessly on that November day in ’63.