Student View

Junior Scholastic Teaching Kits

Teacher-approved stories, resources, and worksheets, courtesy of Junior Scholastic, the middle school Social Studies classroom magazine.

The Roles of the Presidency

From Commander in Chief to chief of state, the president has many critical roles.

Featured Teaching Kits

Teacher-approved stories, resources, and worksheets for teaching about the roles of the president and the executive branch in your classroom, courtesy of Junior Scholastic, the middle school Social Studies classroom magazine

The Three Branches of Government

The Framers of the U.S. Constitution established three branches of government: legislative, executive, and judicial. Each branch is separate and has its own responsibilities.

Read the Story
Checks and Balances
Read a diagram about the U.S. government's three-branches system.
Get Worksheet
Make Your Voice Heard
Write a persuasive letter to a legislator.
Get Worksheet
Lesson Plan
A step-by-step guide to teaching this article in your classroom
Get Lesson Plan

American History Play: Abraham Lincoln’s Team of Rivals

Many of the president's closest advisers did not like or respect him—at first. This play takes place in the days leading up to the Civil War and illustrates the challenges that the recently elected President Lincoln had to face.

Read the Play
What’s the Story?
After reading the play, use this worksheet to review what you read.
Get Worksheet
Casting Call
Analyze the characters and plot of the play.
Get Worksheet
Lesson Plan
A step-by-step guide to teaching this article in your classroom
Get Lesson Plan

The Toughest Job in America?

The Constitution outlines many of the duties of a president, but modern society and technology have also changed and expanded the roles of a president.

Read the Story
Know the News
Answer multiple-choice questions about the article.
Get Worksheet
Words to Know
Read definitions and example sentences for vocabulary words.
Get Worksheet
Lesson Plan
A step-by-step guide to teaching this article in your classroom
Get Lesson Plan

Video: Jobs of the President

The president has many roles as the leader of the executive branch of the U.S. government. Watch this video to learn about the many jobs of the president.


Becoming a U.S. President
The process of being elected U.S. president
Get Worksheet
Becoming a U.S. President
The process of being elected U.S. president
Get Worksheet
Jobs of the President
Answer these questions after watching the video.
Get Worksheet
Jobs of the President
Answer these questions after watching the video.
Get Worksheet
Lesson Plan
A step-by-step guide to teaching this article in your classroom
Get Lesson Plan
Lesson Plan
A step-by-step guide to teaching this article in your classroom
Get Lesson Plan

Want to see more from Junior Scholastic magazine?

LEARN MORE

Quotes
 

“Remember, remember always, that all of us . . . are descended from immigrants and revolutionists.”

— Franklin D. Roosevelt

"Citizens by birth or choice, of a common country, that country has a right to concentrate your affections. The name of American, which belongs to you, in your national capacity, must always exalt the just pride of Patriotism, more than any appellation derived from local discriminations."

— George Washington

"We are bound by ideals that . . . teach us what it means to be citizens. Every child must be taught these ideals. Every citizen must uphold them. . . . I ask you to be citizens. Citizens, not spectators. Citizens, not subjects. Responsible citizens building communities of service and a nation of character."

— George W. Bush

“Change will not come if we wait for some other person, or if we wait for some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.”

— Barack Obama

Four Presidents
Who Shook the World

George Washington
(served 1789-97)

During the American Revolution, he led the Continental Army to victory over the British. Then as father of our country he not only refused to become king—he refused to seek a third term as president in order to demonstrate that a peaceful transfer of power was more important than who was in power.

James Madison
Democratic-Republican
(served 1809-17)

Not only did Madison play a key role in creating the U.S. Constitution, but as the fourth president, Madison led the U.S. through the War of 1812.

Abraham Lincoln
Republican
(served 1861-65)

In 1863, the 16th president issued the Emancipation Proclamation, which freed the enslaved people in the Confederate states. His leadership during the Civil War kept the country from splitting apart.

Franklin D. Roosevelt
Democrat
(served 1933-1945)

The 32nd president led the nation during two of its most difficult periods, the Great Depression and World War II.

Glossary

Terms and definitions that pertain to the office of the president

What is the executive branch?

The president leads the executive branch, which is composed of the vice president and the president's cabinet—15 advisers, called secretaries, who oversee departments such as the Departments of Defense and Education.

What is the legislative branch?

The legislative branch is made of the House of Representatives and the Senate. They draft laws, confirm or reject presidential nominations, and have the authority to declare war.

What is foreign policy?

Foreign policy is the way a government interacts with the governments of other nations.

Chief Executive

The president enforces U.S. laws, creates policies, hires and fires officials within the executive branch, and appoints federal judges. An example of a Chief Executive function is President John F. Kennedy issuing an executive order to launch the Peace Corps.

Legislative leader

The Constitution gives the president the power to sign acts of Congress into law or to veto any bill. An example of the legislative leader role is President Lyndon B. Johnson signing the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Head of political party

Presidents use their influence to back party candidates and raise money for House and Senate campaigns. One example of this role is President Donald Trump holding campaign rallies for Republicans running for office.

Explore Other Topics

Discover other free social studies topics and middle school teaching resources.

Ancient Civilizations

An overview of humanity’s first large societies: how they formed, who ruled them, and how they influenced the world today.

Ancient Civilizations

An overview of humanity’s first large societies: how they formed, who ruled them, and how they influenced the world today.

The United States Constitution

The Constitution is the supreme law of the land. It established our federal government and defined our government’s relationship with the states and citizens.

The United States Constitution

The Constitution is the supreme law of the land. It established our federal government and defined our government’s relationship with the states and citizens.

The Civil Rights Movement

Get to know Martin Luther King Jr., Barbara Johns, the Little Rock Nine, and other pioneers of the civil rights movement.

The Civil Rights Movement

Get to know Martin Luther King Jr., Barbara Johns, the Little Rock Nine, and other pioneers of the civil rights movement.

Women’s History: The Struggle for Equality

Learn about important women throughout history—including Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Sojourner Truth—and the progress that’s been made in the fight for gender equality.  

Women’s History: The Struggle for Equality

Learn about important women throughout history—including Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Sojourner Truth—and the progress that’s been made in the fight for gender equality.  

The History and Heroes of World War II

An overview of World War II: why the U.S. got involved, what citizens did to fight back, and how people worldwide were affected

The History and Heroes of World War II

An overview of World War II: why the U.S. got involved, what citizens did to fight back, and how people worldwide were affected

Real Teens of History

These inspiring teens fought for what they believed in—and made history in the process.

Real Teens of History

These inspiring teens fought for what they believed in—and made history in the process.

Social Studies Debate Kit

Teaching the art of debating—and how to write an effective argument essay—can help students master critical-thinking and communication skills.

Social Studies Debate Kit

Teaching the art of debating—and how to write an effective argument essay—can help students master critical-thinking and communication skills.

Mastering Media Literacy and Digital Literacy

In an increasingly digital world, being able to navigate technology skillfully and evaluate online resources for accuracy and trustworthiness is crucial.

Mastering Media Literacy and Digital Literacy

In an increasingly digital world, being able to navigate technology skillfully and evaluate online resources for accuracy and trustworthiness is crucial.

Map Skills

Teaching map skills can build students’ geography knowledge—and enhance their understanding of the world in which they live.

Map Skills

Teaching map skills can build students’ geography knowledge—and enhance their understanding of the world in which they live.

Middle School Civics

An overview of civics: what it means to be a good citizen, how democracy works, and why staying informed and engaged matters—even as kids.

Middle School Civics

An overview of civics: what it means to be a good citizen, how democracy works, and why staying informed and engaged matters—even as kids.

The Civil War and Reconstruction

Use these features and supporting resources to give students deeper as well as broader knowledge of these key periods in U.S. history.

The Civil War and Reconstruction

Use these features and supporting resources to give students deeper as well as broader knowledge of these key periods in U.S. history.

Immigration

The U.S. is a nation of immigrants, built by people who left their homes to seek new lives and opportunities. However, Americans' feelings about immigrants are mixed.

Immigration

The U.S. is a nation of immigrants, built by people who left their homes to seek new lives and opportunities. However, Americans' feelings about immigrants are mixed.

Photo Credits: Stephen Oliver on Unsplash (Mt. Rushmore); Universal History Archive/UIG via Getty Images (FDR); Steve Cukrov/Shutterstock.com (Constitution); Georgios Kollidas/Shutterstock.com (Washington); Everett Historical/Shutterstock.com (Lincoln); Everett - Art/Shutterstock.com (Madison); Zohar Lazar (George Washington Illustration); Peter Gridley/Getty Images (White House); John Parrot/Stocktrek Images/Getty Images (Lincoln's Cabinet); Stringer/AFP/Getty Images (Jimmy Carter)