Collaborative Presidents Project

As many of you know, I direct Lights Academy at Lutheran High School. At its heart, Lights Academy is an honors, project-based, personalized learning academy where students may pursue their interests and passions in a project-based format. Within Lights Academy we embed the standards for other classes within the project-based format. One of those courses that is embedded for seniors is Honors Government.

Listed below are standards and directions for our Presidents Project, where students rank our American presidents in order of effectiveness, for the course. Students have used their collaboration and soft skills to create the following product for this project. Feel free to share any thoughts you have about the project in the comments section of this post. I will make sure my students see your comments.

Here is the project result from my seniors: Lights Academy President Rankings

Here are the directions and standards for the project. Feel free to use any or all of this project if you are a teacher and it would be helpful for you in working with your students.


This activity is a full class project. You all need to find a way to work together to accomplish the following tasks:

  • Create a ranking list of the presidents that is a ranking from #1-40. We will not rank Donald Trump since his presidency is so closely finished, nor Joe Biden since he is in the midst of his presidency, nor William Henry Harrison, Zachary Taylor, and James Garfield since their presidencies were short and incomplete. In addition, since Grover Cleveland is considered to be both the 22nd and 24th president, he will be mentioned only once. Please include an explanation of why these presidents were not ranked on your web sharing.
  • Include a paragraph summary under each president that shares specific reasons why this president is ranked in this way. Please make sure this is all properly proofread and edited.
  • Create some sort of visual web sharing where this may be shared with a larger audience. We want to share your rankings with others. This means that using something like Weebly, Sway, Spark, etc, would be appropriate for your web sharing.
  • Create some sort of method by which others can respond to your ranking, building a discussion if others are interested.
  • Include the number of the president and the years the president served. (EX: Abraham Lincoln, 16th, 1861-1865)
  • You MUST SHOW how everyone was clearly involved in the creation of this project. How you do this is up to you, but I need to see what everyone’s significant role and involvement was with this project.
  • You will create a class due date for this project by Monday, November 15th. After that date, I will add a final due date to Canvas. The final due date for this project is of your choice. Keep in mind that I will assign no other Government work before Christmas break, but we will begin with working with the Judicial Branch of Government in January.
  • Share the final link with Mr. Black By the end of class on Monday, November 22nd. In addition, everyone should add this to their online portfolio under the Project tab and share a brief explanation of the project along with a link. For this reason, everyone will make an individual submission for this project so I can verify this work on each portfolio even though this is a group project.


  • You may wish to set up different responsibilities for different people in completing the projects. Please remember to share how everyone had a significant role. Everyone will receive the same grade for the project, but if someone does not complete their responsibilities, a list of responsibilities will need to be shared with Mr. Black so he can see who’s individual grade might need to be adjusted downward.
  • I would encourage you, once you decide on a date you want this due, to create project checkpoints for yourselves and find a way to help hold each other accountable for the work.

One of the great benefits of Lights Academy is the development of soft skills — those interpersonal skills that show that you are serious about collaboration and organizing work well. This is an opportunity for you to put all those skills into practice. The ability to complete this project successfully will show that you possess this unique skill set. It will challenge you to be articulate in organizing and sharing information. It will also encourage you to embrace the different gifts each of you have been given by God to build a strong group process.

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