What Happens in the White House?

The “President's House,” built under George Washington's personal supervision, was the finest residence in the land and possibly the largest. In a nation of wooden houses, it was built of stone and ornamented with understated stone flourishes. It did not fit everyone's concept for the home of the leader of the young democracy. Abigail Adams found it cold; Thomas Jefferson thought it too big and impractical. He added gardens, a cooking stove, and storage.

Whatever one's opinion of the original design, our nation is now inseparably associated with the White House. There, the essential business of the land is conducted every day. There, our history has been made and reflected.

In this unit, students take a close look at the White House in recent times and throughout our history.

Note: This lesson may be taught either as a stand-alone lesson or as a complement to the EDSITEment curriculum unit From the White House of Yesterday to the White House of Today.

Guiding Questions

What functions does our presidential residence serve?


How has the White House been touched by the great events of our nation's history?

Learning Objectives

List activities that take place at the White House.


Create a chronology of important events that have occurred at or directly affected the White House.