DeVos Learning Center

Grades 6-8

Amending the Constitution

This hands-on lesson utilizes the 25th Amendment and Equal Rights Amendment, both important to Gerald and Betty Ford’s lives, while giving students a taste of the complexity of the Amendment process. Museum exhibits and primary source documents provide students with content and context.

Grades 6-8; 60 student maximum

Program Length: 4 hours

Standards Address: 

  • U3.3 Creating New Government and a New Constitution
  • U4.3 Reform Movements
  • U6.2 Investigation Topics and Issue Analysis
  • P3.1 Identifying and Analyzing Issues, Decision Making, Persuasive Communication About a Public Issue, and Citizen Involvement

Click here for pre- and post-visit activities

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Campaigning with Character

After a guided tour to learn about the character of President Ford and analyzing the 1976 election ads as a primary source, students will create and record their own campaign commercials using the museum exhibits. All technology is provided. Please allow three hours for this program.

Grades 6-12; 60 student maximum

Program Length: 4-5 hours

Standards Addressed:

  • Use cultural institutions to study an era
  • Identify the point of view (perspective of the author) and context when reading and discussing primary and secondary sources
  • Integrate information presented in different media or formats as well as in words to develop a coherent understanding of a topic or issue
  • Use historical inquiry and analysis to study the past

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Advise the President: Deliberations from the Classroom to the Cabinet Room

Students learn the basic skills of deliberative dialogue and then put them into practice by assuming the role of advisor to the President. Using primary source documents, students will learn about the New York City Financial Crisis, examine possible solutions, and discuss what they believe is the best course of action.

Grades 5-12; 30 student maximum

Program Length: 4.5 hours

Standards Address: 

  • P1 Reading and Communication—Read and Communicate Effectively
  • P2 Inquiry, Research, and Analysis
  • P3 Public Discourse and Decision Making
  • P4 Civic Participation
  • C1.1 Nature of Civic Life, Politics, and Government
  • E2.3 Role of Government
  • C3.1 Structure, Functions, Powers, and Limits of Federal Government
  • C6.4 Civic Inquiry, Public Policy, Civic Action, and Public Discourse
  • E2.2 Role of Government in the U.S. Economy
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Unlocking the Character Code: the Gerald R. Ford BREAKOUT Game

After a guided tour of the Museum, students work together in teams to solve character-related clues throughout the exhibits in order to unlock a secret code and reap the reward! This activity is great for team-building and developing critical thinking skills. “Unlocking the Character Code” can be added onto one of our other programs, or can serve as a stand-alone experience. Please allow at least 2.5 hours for both the guided tour and breakout game.

Grades 4-12; 40 student maximum

Program Length: 2.5 hours

Communities in Action: Learning from the Example of President Ford to Better Our World

Students learn the meaning of civic engagement through the examples of President and Mrs. Ford using class discussion, activities, and an interactive Museum tour. Students create eBooks about the theme of active citizenship and then get active themselves by engaging in a group service project.

Grades 2-8 (Adapted for grade level); 60 students maximum

Program Length: 3-5 hours (adapted for grade level) hours

Standards Addressed:

  • Communicate clearly and coherently in writing, speaking, and visually expressing ideas pertaining to social science topics, acknowledging audience and purpose
  • Integrate information presented in different media or formats as well as in words to develop a coherent understanding of a topic or issue
  • Read and comprehend literary nonfiction
  • Use historical inquiry and analysis to study the past

Click here for pre– and post–visit activities

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Taking a Stand: Making Choices with Integrity

uring this three and a half-hour program, students will explore how the concept of integrity relates to making decisions when faced with a dilemma and using one’s voice to help solve the problem. This three and a half-hour class uses the story of a 1934 football game in which Georgia Tech refused to play the University of Michigan unless Willis Ward, an African American player for U of M, was benched during the game. The future 38th president of the United States, Gerald Ford, was a teammate and friend of Ward’s. Students will examine how Ford faced a dilemma that he later described as a personal crisis as he decided whether or not to play in a football game that excluded a player based solely on race. Students will discuss the responsibility we all have when faced with injustice and the ways by which we can create change. They will learn that they, too, can create change through policy by learning to communicate with their elected officials.

Grades: 5-12; 60 student maximum

Program Length: 4 hours

Standards Addressed:

  • Understand social problems, social structure, institutions, class, groups, and interaction
  • Examine policy issues in group discussions to make reasoned and informed decisions
  • Read with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension
  • Write opinion pieces in which they introduce the topic, state an opinion, supply a reason for the opinion, and provide some sense of closure

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Model of Courage: How First Lady Betty Ford Used her Voice to Enact Positive Change

Through an interactive Museum tour and exploration of primary sources such as letters and video, students will learn about Mrs. Ford’s courage in using her voice to bring awareness to important issues such as health care and women’s rights. Students will then be challenged to use their voices for good as they create their own public service announcements to bring awareness to an issue of importance in today’s world.

Grades: 5-12; 60 student maximum

Program Length: 4-5 hours

Standards Addressed:

  • Understand social problems, social structure, institutions, class, groups, and interaction
  • Use inquiry methods to acquire content knowledge about an issue
  • Explain how historians use a variety of sources to explore the past (e.g., artifacts, primary and secondary sources, etc.)
  • Identify the point of view (perspective of the author) and context when reading and discussing primary and secondary sources
  • Identify the role of the individual in history and the significance of one person’s ideas
  • Use cultural institutions to study an era

Click here for pre- and post-visit activities

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