In the end, I usually bailed out by allowing students to complete projects in which they picked presidents to research and present, always answering the question, "Why were they significant?" Then, years later, when no longer teaching government, but a Women in History course, I realized the correct answer for my quandary. Teach them all.
For my students to get the greatest benefit from my class, it is important that they see themselves in history, and in our future. More important, they must see themselves in those we do hold to high acclaim; in those we consider important. As our times change, and our students grow even more diverse, I think this lesson is even more important. And, while for women this lesson is still a challenging one, we can still find traits in those leaders of our past that remind us of ourselves, our goals, and our dreams for the future.
Need some resources to teach about those great men (and some not so great) from our nation's past? Visit my TpT Store for a number of great options!
Here are links to just a few:
President's Fun Facts Scavenger Hunt
Presidents Matching Card Game
A Walking Tour with the Presidents
The Presidents Centers Activity
American Presidents Facebook Timeline Activity
And one last idea as we celebrate President's Day this month... Ask your students what they would do as president of the United States. It will give you great foresight in how to plan for your future! :)