A huge thanks to P.J. Creek for sharing his amazing work here at the Neighborhood.
P.J. is an eighth grade social studies teacher and came up with a fun new tool to look at the American Presidency. Noticing that the traditional flashcards and reference pages didn’t give a complete picture, he decided to borrow from the science department and create a tool that isn’t simply to look at inert gases and carcinogenic radioactive compounds that last a split second.
The Periodic Table of the Presidents is just that: an ordered, logical snapshot of the last two centuries of the executive branch. It’s numbered 1 to 44, and I don’t have to tell you who’s 1 and who’s 44 (do I really?). Like the other periodic table, the PTOTP gives each president a two-letter designation, color based on political party, years in office, number of times elected, and other info such as assassinations, resignations, etc.
(Again, do we need to go over who got shot and who quit before they did?)
If it were simply a table, the PTOTP would be a nifty little poster for the classroom. Thankfully, P.J.’s website includes information on each president, links to further information, electoral maps, a portrait gallery and even his own articles on interesting tales such as “Tecumseh’s curse“, or the death in office of any President elected in a year with a zero at the end (probably since debunked by Reagan and George W. Bush).
You can order the poster for your classroom for 10 dollars–but buy before July 11 and get 2 posters for one. The PTOTP is a really neat way to explore the American presidency. It shows the flow of parties, terms in office, important facts and especially how the transfer of power has endured pretty smoothly for two centuries.
At the very least, you can fool all those folks in the STEM departments into thinking you’re teaching science…hey, anything to save a good social studies teacher their job!