About the experience
In 2006, President George W. Bush directed the White House Situation Room be renovated and updated. The historic Situation Room was used by nine sitting Presidents including President Ronald Reagan. The existing Situation Room complex was removed and two of the key rooms - the Main Conference Room and the Secure Video Transmission Site - were preserved and reinstalled at the George W. Bush and the Ronald Reagan Presidential Libraries.
These profoundly significant rooms provide an exceptional educational opportunity for students who will form teams to assume the roles of the Executive Office of the President and the President’s Cabinet in order to manage a constitutional crisis. Fellow classmates will take on the parts of key news media members scrambling to cover the story as it unfolds before them. Participating students must work together in a high stakes environment to examine a multitude critical sources and make important decisions about developing events.
This 21st century educational experience is aligned with national and state standards for high school.
Connection to Standards
The Situation Room Experience is aligned with national standards; California History-Social Science Content Standards, California English-Language Arts Standards and the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills for high school. You may click additional education resources to access activities, lesson plans, and other digital materials from the National Archives for teaching with primary source documents.
Before Your Simulation
Below are materials you may use to help you and your high school students prepare for the simulation.
Almost all of the materials may be used as stand-alone lessons or in preparation for a Situation Room visit.
How to Prep Students
How to Read a Document Guide
The “How to Read a Document” guide provides examples of newscasts, historical photos, newspaper articles, cables and memoranda and may be used as a stand-alone lesson or in preparation for a Situation Room visit. The diagrams within are available to provide students with historical literacy skills needed to master the Situation Room Experience.
How to Read a Document Workbook
The “How to Read a Document” workbook is a packet of worksheets designed to help your students practice the skills needed to master the Situation Room Experience. The workbook may be used as a stand-alone lesson or in preparation for a Situation Room visit.
The purpose of the case study is to engage students in a group decision making experience around a complex fictional community issue. This exercise will help prepare students to engage critical thinking skills in a social setting.
A glossary of subject matter terms is provided for use both prior to and during a group visit to the Situation Room Experience.
After Your Simulation
After the simulation you may login to access analytics for your group. You will be able to see the choices each participant made during the simulation and use this information to foster discussion off-site.
How do you encourage high school students to research more about government?
The National Archives Education Team has prepared a series of projects and analytical questions to help you reinforce the learning experience and promote further interest in the workings of government.
After Action Report
Looking for a great extension activity? This in-class group project will engage your students in an in-depth analysis of their experience in the Situation Room. Continue the discussion about decisions made and group dynamics which evolved throughout the experience.
A formal standards-linked set of questions and extension activities meant to be used as short answer or essay questions to stimulate discussion with links to history and government content.
This classroom-ready PowerPoint presentation is designed to engage students in the key concepts explored during the Situation Room Experience. In one or two class periods, your students will delve in the 25th amendment and its use throughout history and the importance of the primary source records kept by the National Archives and Records Administration.