Grade Levels: 6-8, 9-12

*Click to open and customize your own copy of the John F. Kennedy Lesson Plan.

This lesson accompanies the BrainPOP topic John F. Kennedy, and supports the standard of understanding the impact of key figures in United States’ history. Students demonstrate understanding through a variety of projects.

Step 1: ACTIVATE PRIOR KNOWLEDGE

Prompt students to reflect on a famous quote from JFK, like the one shown below:

“Ask not what your country can do for you…ask what you can do for your country.”

Ask students:

  • What ideas and values are expressed in this quote?
  • Can you give a real-life example of what this quote is about?

Step 2: BUILD BACKGROUND

  • Read the description on the John F. Kennedy topic page.
  • Play the Movie, pausing to check for understanding. 
  • Have students read one of the following Related Reading articles: “Way Back When” or “Did You Know?”. Partner them with someone who read a different article to share what they learned with each other.

Step 3: APPLY 

Students express their understanding through one or more of the following activities, which also address essential literacy skills. They can work individually or collaborate.  

  • Make-a-Movie: Produce a trailer for an upcoming movie about JFK’s life, including the successes and challenges of his political career. (Essential Literacy Skill: Determine central ideas and summarize key details)
  • Make-a-Map: Make a concept map identifying JFK’s important presidential policies and describing their impact. (Essential Literacy Skill: Cite specific evidence to support conclusions drawn)
  • Creative Coding: Code a newscast about the resolution of the Bay of Pigs Invasion. (Essential Literacy Skill: Determine central ideas and summarize key details)
  • Primary Source Activity: Watch and analyze an inaugural speech. (Essential Literacy Skill: Integrate and evaluate content presented in diverse media and formats)

Step 4: REFLECT & ASSESS 

Reflect: Students reflect on what they’ve learned about John F. Kennedy. Prompt them by asking questions such as: 

  • What factors led to JFK’s success as a young presidential candidate?
  • Analyze JFK’s vision for the U.S. What ideals was he hoping to achieve with the New Frontier policies?
  • How did JFK’s political strategies evolve over the course of the Cold War?
  • In what ways was JFK’s assassination a turning point in U.S. history?

Assess: Wrap up the lesson with the John F. Kennedy Quiz

Step 5:  Extend Learning

Time Zone X: John F. Kennedy: This interactive timeline game challenges players to put historical events in chronological order.

Famous Historical Figures Unit: Continue to build understanding around historical figures with more BrainPOP topics.

Additional Support Resources:

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