Frenemies: George Washington and Thomas Jefferson

Lesson Plan

Frenemies: George Washington and Thomas Jefferson

Descriptive Subtitle:
Washington and Jefferson were important founding fathers that were great friends, who fought together for separation from England.   But, after the war, they did not agree on much.  See what came between these two great men.

Grade level: upper elem (3-5)

Author Information:

Name: Jaime Speed
School: Juniper Elementary Technology Magnet School
School Address (opt): 1300 NE Norton
City: Bend
State: OR

Duration: 60-90 min


The students will need an electronic device (tablet, smart phone, computer) with the Nearpod app downloaded.  They will then work to complete a Nearpod.  In it, they will discuss the philosophical and political differences between Jefferson and Washington.  They will also be discussing the Mazzei letter.

This lesson comes after the completion of the American Revolution, but before any lessons on the creation of the constitution.  It is a great lesson to introduce the major differences between Federalism and Republicanism.

Prior knowledge:

Students will need to come to the lesson understanding the outcome of the American Revolution and the struggles with creating a new constitution.  They will also need to have a basic understanding of who Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton, and George Washington were and what their roles were in the new United States government.


Common Core Standards:

Determine two or more main ideas of a text and explain how they are supported by key details; summarize the text.

Explain the relationships or interactions between two or more individuals, events, ideas, or concepts in a historical, scientific, or technical text based on specific information in the text.

Analyze multiple accounts of the same event or topic, noting important similarities and differences in the point of view they represent.

Integrate information from several texts on the same topic in order to write or speak about the subject knowledgeably.

Virginia Standards:                                       

USL6B: The student will demonstrate knowledge of the causes and results of the American Revolution by identifying how political ideas shaped the revolutionary movement.

USL6C: The student will demonstrate knowledge of the causes and results of the American Revolution by describing key events and the roles of key individuals in the American Revolutions with emphasis on George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Patrick Henry, and Thomas Paine.

USL7C  The student will demonstrate knowledge of the challenges faced by the new nation by identifying the conflicts that results in the emergence of two political parties.

USL7D  The student will demonstrate knowledge of the challenges faced by the new nation by describing the major accomplishments of the first five presidents of the United States.

Oregon Standards:

OR 5.6 Use primary and secondary sources to formulate historical questions, to examine an historical account about an issue of the time, and to reconstruct the literal meaning of the passages by identifying who was involved, what happened, where it happened, and what events led to these developments and what consequences or outcomes followed.

OR 5.12 Analyze how cooperation and conflict among people contribute to political, economic and social events and situations in the United States.

OR 5.13 Describe and summarize how colonial and new states’ governments affected groups within their population (e.g., citizens, slaves, foreigners, nobles, women, class systems, tribes).

OR 5.20 Gather, use and document information from multiple sources (e.g., print, electronic, human, primary, secondary) to examine an event, issue, or problem through inquiry and research.

OR 5.21 Identify and study two or more points of view of an event, issue or problem.


Students will be able to complete a Nearpod project.  They will also read and analyze a primary resource written by Thomas Jefferson.

Students will know the reasons behind the rift between Thomas Jefferson and George Washington.  They will also be able to explain and write about the major differences between the Federalist party and the Republican Party.  Finally, they will be able to explain the situation around and the significance of the Mazzei letter.


  1. Please see the Nearpod tutorial at:
  2. Complete the Nearpod located at:


The teachers will need a device with the free nearpod app loaded on it.  Students will need smart devices with the free nearpod app loaded on it. The app is located at:

Resources Used to Create Nearpod

Fleming, Thomas J. The Great Divide: The Conflict between Washington and Jefferson That Defined a Nation. Boston, MA: Decapo Press, 2015.

“Jefferson’s Letter to Philip Mazzei.” The Papers of Thomas Jefferson. 2002. Accessed July 14, 2016.

“The Federalists.” Federalists: American History for Kids ***. June 1, 2015. Accessed July 14, 2016.


There are a number of small formative assessments located throughout the nearpod.

Assessment Criteria (rubric, checklist, etc.):

The teacher will be able to take the data from the various responses and activities located in the nearpod and use them to assess student learning.


Accommodations: list suggestions for adapting the materials, procedures, and assessments included in this lesson for students with varying learning styles and abilities

The two videos included in the nearpod have been narrated.  But, this activity does require a lot of reading, so an accommodation would be to read the slides and activities to the students that need that support.  There are opportunities to write, draw, and click on responses.  The nearpod brings in visual, auditory, and cooperative learning tasks.