Adrian Morrow presents a biographical overview of U.S. President-elect Joe Biden, highlighting his preference for the middle ground, neither far right nor far left on the political spectrum. The article describes Mr. Biden’s character in terms of his ability to understand and empathize with everyday Americans.

Getting Started

Introduction to the article (perhaps by having everyone read it)

This lesson is designed for secondary level students, to be applicable to both online and classroom learning situations. Whether in one-on-one settings, in small groups or cohorts, or via a learning partner online, this lesson involves online research and a written report.

On January 20th, Joe Biden will be sworn in as the new President of the United States. As Canadians learned especially well over the past four years, the character and abilities of the U.S. president play a significant role in relations between our two countries. In this reading and reflection exercise, students will read the article on their own time with the goal of developing an informed opinion of Mr. Biden, which they will outline in a short writing exercise.

Subject Area(s) covered

Social studies, American studies, current events, media literacy

New Terms to explain

Innate, avuncular, mien, incrementalist, judiciary, desegregation

Materials Needed

Access to the article

Study and Discussion Activity

Key things students can learn from this lesson

  • The background and character of Joe Biden
  • Some highlights of his long political career
  • His established views on controversial issues

Action (here’s how we’ll do it)

Students should read the article by Adrian Morrow and take notes on anything that catches their eye, but include references to Mr. Biden relative to:

  • His being a “straight arrow”
  • His views/actions around racism
  • His professional qualifications, his career before politics
  • His religion
  • Tragedies that affected him personally
  • Some of his self-admitted political mistakes
  • His willingness to compromise

When they’ve finished reading and making notes, they should revisit their list and for each of the points above, describe how each might help or hinder Mr. Biden’s effectiveness as president.

As a bonus, how might Mr. Biden’s wife, Dr. Jill Biden, help the president inform his decisions on education?

Consolidation of Learning

  • When they’ve finished their assignment, students will discuss it with their teacher before submitting it for evaluation.
Success and Additional Learning

Success Criteria

Students can:

  • List key features of Mr. Biden’s background and character
  • List and explain some of the highlights of his long political career
  • Describer some of his established views on controversial issues

Confirming Activities

  • Students compare the above description of Mr. Biden against what they see and hear in daily news clips from now through his inauguration and beyond.

Helpful Internet Searches

Activities to do together

  • Watch Mr. Biden’s press conferences and discuss what you see and hear.