The White House and the Capitol building are two very recognizable landmarks in Washington, D.C. Students are likely to see images of them on television, in the newspaper, and even on the Internet. In addition to being two important buildings in our nation's capital, they are also closely associated with two branches of our government. At the same time, they provide a very concrete way to introduce students to the concept that our government is made up of different parts, or branches.
Begin the lesson by copying the reproducibles and distributing them to students. Do they recognize these buildings? Do they know who works in the buildings? Explain that the president works in the White House and Congress works in the Capitol building. Congress makes the laws and the president leads the country. After coloring the pages, students may wish to prop them up on a carton to make them three-dimensional.
Here is some additional background information on these buildings that you may wish to share with your students before or after they complete the reproducible pages.
The Capitol is one of the oldest buildings in Washington, D.C. Construction started in 1792. The Capitol was built at the top of a hill so that people could see it from all over the city. More than 10 million people visit the Capitol every year to watch the sessions of Congress. When they visit, they can also have bean soup in the restaurants in the Capitol. Bean soup is on the menu every day!
The White House
The White House has been home to all of the presidents and their families since 1800. It's also where the president has his office and entertains important leaders from around the world. It wasn't always called the White House, though. During the War of 1812, the British burned down the President's House. When it was rebuilt, workers covered the burn marks with many coats of white paint. From then on, it was called the White House! You can also visit the White House for Kids Web site for more information.