Who Was James Madison?

Contributor: Nichole Brooker. Lesson ID: 11074

James Madison was short in stature but long in accomplishments! You can thank him for the Bill of Rights, Indiana, and Congress. Get inspired by a short, sickly man but capable two-term president!


United States

learning style
personality style
Grade Level
Intermediate (3-5)
Lesson Type
Quick Query

Lesson Plan - Get It!

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James Madison was the shortest president to date (2016) at five feet, four inches. Napoleon was five feet, seven inches; so although his height was criticized, President Madison was three inches shorter!

Good thing the presidency doesn’t have a height restriction like astronauts!

James Madison’s life and contributions to U.S. history

As the fourth president of the United States, James Madison was an important member of the country’s history.

  • What do you already know about him?

Download, print, and fill in the Graphic Organizer - KWL Chart found in Downloadable Resources in the right-hand sidebar. The K portion is what you already know. The W portion is what you want to know, and the L portion is what you learn (when you are done with this lesson).

As a third, fourth, or fifth grader, you may already know a lot about the fourth president of the United States.

  • What do you WANT to know about him?
  • Do you want to explore his personal story or his education?
  • Do you want to know about his contributions to the Constitution and Bill of Rights?
  • Do you want to know more about his service to the government before he became president?

James Madison was a great contributor to the history of the United States, and after this lesson, you will be able to name three of those contributions.

First, create a list of three or more areas you would like to study about President Madison. Put that in the W column of your KWL chart.

Now, get started learning about James Madison as you watch this video.

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James Madison was often sick as a child.

  • What effect do you think that may have had on his childhood and adulthood?
  • Is your health important to your future aspirations and abilities?

Make a list of the complications that could come from not being healthy.

  • Could it hinder your chances for opportunities?

When you are ready to learn more about America's fourth president, move on to the Got It? section!

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