Make: presidential timeline school project

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We finished the Snapdragon Project for the 7yo’s Science Class without too many tears… But, I have to admit I was not looking forward to starting the next one: a presidential timeline for his Social Studies class!

His President was Millard Fillmore, and no, I hadn’t heard of him either! He was the 13th President of the United States, and one of the more interesting facts about him is that he was never elected President, he was Vice-President when the previous President (Zachary Levy, hadn’t heard of him either!) died in office. He then failed to win the nomination for President at the end of his term… I feel I now know far more about Millard Fillmore than is strictly necessary! Anyway, I digress…

This project seemed to enthuse the 7yo more, and he surprised me by coming up with the idea for the design himself! One of his research elements for this module had been to find out fun facts about Millard Fillmore. He discovered that his President had been known for his dress sense, and always wore a ‘well cut dark suit’. So, he decided to use a suit jacket as the background to his timeline.

He also thought that the buttons would make good ‘bullet points’ for his timeline facts.

So, we set about cutting out the shape of a jacket from black card and mounting it on his poster board. Two rectangles for the arms, and two more for the body of the jacket. He cut triangles off a top and bottom corner on each of these to give the jacket more shape and then chose blue card for the ‘lining’ of the jacket. He used two of the triangle off cuts for lapels; tapered the ‘shoulders’ of the two arms pieces, stuck it all down; and job done, one well cut dark suit! And what was even better, he did it all himself! I guided the sizing of things so that they fit the board, but that was it :)

Next came the buttons. Again, he had an idea here that I wouldn’t have thought of! He realised that the small coloured buttons we had fit perfectly inside the big black buttons, so he put a different colour in the middle of each button and then matched the card he used for the fact associated with that button. It made for a far more interesting and eye-catching project.

He carefully wrote out each of the timeline facts he’d chosen and then added a couple of fun facts (including the one about the jacket!), a picture of Millard Fillmore and the title and it was finished.

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I was proud of him for working through his frustrations with the Snapdragon project; I’m even prouder of this one! He had the idea; he executed the idea. He worked hard, he worked carefully; his attention didn’t waver, he was focused.

If I’m completely honest, the 7yo can be a bit lazy, his tendency is to take the easy path and do as little as is reasonable for any given task. In first grade he would spend ages finding the shortest sentence possible with (preferably all of) his words of the week… Far longer than it would have taken to write four sentences, but for him: he had to write as few words as possible!

It was quite lovely for me to watch him get excited about a project, to come up with ideas that weren’t necessarily the ‘easy option’, for him to enjoy doing it and for him to make such a good job of it.

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23 thoughts on “Make: presidential timeline school project”

  1. WOW so creative and amazing. I use to love doing projects at school. What a great idea to do it in the shape of a suit. Your lil one is very CLEVER!!! This is a huge proud moment for you mommy! Wow, is all I can say. Just wow! Impressive as ever.

    1. Thank you x Because it was his idea (rather than mine!), he got really excited about it; it was great to watch x

  2. Sara – this is fantastic! Well done to the boy, to have had those ideas and then had the concentration to keep going with it, just brilliant! I love that you know more about Millard Fillmore than is strictly necessary! So funny!! xx

  3. what a fantastic project! I did a history timeline on a scrap of paper when we were homeschooling and now i feel so ashamed of how little effort I put in when i see something so fabulous. x

    1. You should have seen the marking rubric, the expectations were pretty clear! But, I was very proud of how hard he worked :)

  4. judithkingston

    Wow, what a great idea!! And it looks so good! I’m sure Millard Fillmore never had quite such attention paid to him while he was alive…

  5. The Mothers say – We felt it only appropriate to comment here as we hadn’t heard of this President either!!! But we are loving the enthusiasm and creation that your lil’ dude has decided to get involved in. Awesome job. High-5’s

    Thanks for linking to #minicreations

  6. Pingback: Living Alone and Loving It: 10 Tips to Help You Grow Into the Person Who Will Fill Your Empty Nest | Zahal IDF Blog News

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