Lesson: Leader for a Day

Connecting Math to Civics

Students will participate in the KidsÕ Corner computer activity, Be a Supervisor For a Day, to learn what it is like to be a leader in our community.  They will compare and contrast the SupervisorÕs typical schedule with their own. They will then participate in the PBS Democracy Project activity, Be President for a Day to discover the similarities and differences between the two leadersÕ jobs.  Based on what they learn, students will identify the characteristic that they believe is the most important for a leader to have.  Students will graph the class results and make statements about the class data.


Grade Levels: 3rd- 6th




Time:  3 class sessions (approx.)



Be a Supervisor for A Day worksheet

Graph paper

Chart paper

Computers with internet access

What Makes a Leader worksheet



1.     Begin lesson by asking student to remember what they did throughout the school day yesterday.  Have them try to piece together the entire day while you record the events on chart paper. (e.g. 8:00 AM arrived to school, visited with friends, 8:20 went into classroom, etc.) Have the students volunteer information about what they did before and after school as well, to give a complete picture of a typical day for a child their age. Reflect with students how busy and eventful their day was. 


2.     Instruct children that they will now have the opportunity to try out another schedule and see what they think.  They will pretend to be a County Supervisor and choose which important events they would like to schedule into their day. Introduce students to the Be a Supervisor for a Day section of the KidsÕ Corner website and let them complete the activity.  Have them print out their schedule on the final page so that they can use it for discussion (you can also use the Be a Supervisor for A Day worksheet if you donÕt have access to a printer or enough computers).


3.     Ask students to share their choices with the rest of the class.  Using a transparency of the Be a Supervisor for a Day worksheet, keep a tally of the student choices.  Notice which activities were the most popular and which were the least popular. Ask the students if they think Supervisors always have choices about the activities that are a part of their schedules.


4.     Have students compare and contrast the choices that they made as Supervisor for the Day with the chart of their own typical day that they previously generated.  Record the statements made on the chart paper. Encourage students to make generalizations about a SupervisorÕs Day (e.g. Supervisors have to make a lot of decisions, Supervisors have to work a long day, etc.).


5.     Instruct students that they will now be pretending to be the President for the day.  They will get to see what a typical day is like for the president. Introduce students to the PBS site to interact with the President for a Day section of the Democracy Project (http://www.pbs.org/democracy/kids/presforaday/index.html). Instruct students to pay close attention the ÒDid You KnowÓ section of each page.  Encourage them to take notes as they complete the game.


6.     Ask students how the jobs of County Supervisor and President of the United States are similar and different.  Have students make generalizations about the job of president.  Ask students if they would want to be a leader like the ones that they just studied about.  Introduce the worksheet, What Makes a Leader.  Ask students to choose which quality (only one) they think is the most important for a leader to have.  Then in the space below, explain why they think that this quality is so important. Display their work in the classroom.


7.     Tally the class results from the What Makes a Leader activity. Instruct students to then create a bar graph reflecting the class results (graph paper, pencils and crayons can be used for this activity).  Help students decide the increments by which they should measure their bar graph (this will be dependent on the results and number of students in your class).  Once students have completed their bar graph, instruct them how to create bar graphs and circle graphs using a spreadsheet program (such as Microsoft Excel).  Have students compare their graphs to the computer-generated graphs.


8.     Have students write a few statements about the data represented in their graphs.  As a class, list these statements and add additional ones.  End the lesson by encouraging children to think about how these leadership characteristics can be strengthened in all of them so that they will be ready to be our future leaders!


CA Math Standards

Statistics, Data Analysis, and Probability

Grade 4: Students organize, represent, and interpret numerical and categorical data and clearly communicate their findings.

Grade 5: Students display, analyze, compare, and interpret different data sets, including data sets of different sizes.

Grade 6: Students compute and analyze statistical measurements for data sets.


CA Language Arts Standards

Grades 3rd & 4th:  Writing Strategies

Students write clear, coherent sentences and paragraphs that develop a central idea. Their writing shows they consider the audience and purpose. Students progress through the stages of the writing process (e.g., prewriting, drafting, revising, editing successive versions).

Grades 5th-8th: Writing Strategies Students write clear, coherent, and focused essays. The writing exhibits the studentsÕ awareness of the audience and purpose. Essays contain formal introductions, supporting evidence, and conclusions. Students progress through the stages of the writing process as needed.






Be A Supervisor For A Day!

My name is Jerry Hill and right now I am the President of the Board of Supervisors. Since you want to do that job for today, I'm here to help you. I've written down some things that I usually do and you get to choose which ones you will do today.


We have an exciting day ahead of us!


8:30 a.m.

It's 8:30 a.m. First we'll read the newspaper and eat some breakfast. As a supervisor, it's important to keep up with the news. Then, you're off to the Board of Supervisors meeting from 9:00 a.m. until 11:00 a.m. The County Hospital is going to make a presentation to the Board. Go ahead and tell me, by clicking on your choice. Which question would you most like to ask them?


c Does the hospital have anything new?

c What are some ways that we can make health care better?

c What is really hard for the hospital right now?

c What sicknesses are most people coming to the hospital with?


11:00 a.m.

Great job! I could tell that the people from the hospital were glad that you asked that question. You'll have your first appointment now at 11:00 a.m. Here are your meeting choices. You can decide which meeting youÕd like to schedule.


c Meet with the Director of Human Resources so that she can give an overview of the department's services

c Meet with the City Manager of San Mateo about what the City needs from the County

c Meet with an environmental group to talk about air quality in the County

c Meet with the CORE network, a group of nonprofit agencies in the County, about their budgets






I'm impressed! I'm sure everyone appreciated how well you listened to them at the meeting. Now it's time for you to decide what you would like to do for lunch. Let me know and we'll go and get my car or we can walk if it's close.


c Attend a lunch meeting of the Rotary Club, an organization that promotes goodwill and service

c Have lunch with another supervisor at your favorite local soul food restaurant

c Speak at a lunch meeting for the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, a business organization

c Order in Chinese food from a great place across the street and read some information packets on important county issues


1:30 p.m.

Oh no! I have to pull you away from lunch a few minutes early. We have a situation. It's been raining so hard today that it has started to flood along the coast. There are lots of emergency people already at the scene, what would you like to do first?


c Schedule a press conference to give people information about the flooding

c Call someone at the scene to find out what needs to be done

c Call the Director of the Department of Public Works to see what that office is doing

c Call the Hospital to see if anyone has been hurt in the flood


4:00 p.m.

Whew! It looks like the flooding is under control. You have time for one last event this evening. What event would you like to attend?


c A dedication ceremony for new lanes on the 101 freeway

c An awards ceremony for county employees

c An awards dinner for the American Heart Association

c A community meeting about improving education



I hope you enjoyed the event and met some new people. It is very important for county officials to be out in the community so that people know who represents them in the government.



Congratulations! It's been a busy day and you handled it well. Thanks for joining me!


Jerry Hill





What Makes A Leader


What makes a good county government official? There are lots of words we could use to describe that person. Which quality do you think is the most important?



Your First Name ____________________________________


c    Honest

c    Courageous

c    Knows the County Well

c    Helpful

c    Listens

c    Thinks Carefully

c    Problem Solver

c    Motivates Other People

c    Other  _________________________________