Continuity and Change in a New Century
This experience is designed to help students interpret the continuity and change between the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. It focuses on how historians think about events, trends, and progress. First students explain what changes and what stays the same on their thirteenth birthdays. Then they identify a turning point in American history and analyze what changed and what continued after the turning point. Next they define a period and analyze a timeline of transportation or the industrial revolution to describe the continuity and change over the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Finally, they create a timeline of their own lives, identifying periods, a turning point, a change, and continuity.
World War I and the Changing Role of Women
Students first consider when and why the Great War was renamed World War I. Then they learn basic facts about WWI, including the U.S. role in the war. Next they examine the role of women on the home front and create a timeline of key events leading to the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment. Finally, they learn about the source of Veteran’s Day and write a speech for a Veteran’s Day ceremony.
The Great Depression
Students are introduced to the Roaring Twenties and listen to an early jazz recording by Louis Armstrong. Then they examine the causes and effects of the Great Depression. Next they learn about the Dust Bowl and analyze the photograph “Migrant Mother.” Finally they explore the New Deal and present a WPA project from their state.
World War II
Students first create a class K-W chart about World War II. Then they read about the European and Pacific fronts of the war. Next they analyze the pros and the cons of the Americans dropping the atomic bombs on Japan. Finally, they read a poem written by a child in a concentration camp and write a letter to an imaginary child there.
Fighting Heroes of World War II
Students brainstorm the characteristics of a hero. Then they learn about the Tuskegee Airmen program and explain its contribution to integration of the U.S. military. Next they learn about the 442nd Regimental Combat Team and the issue of the internment camps. They form an opinion if those wrongly interred deserve compensation. Then they learn about the Code Talkers and explain why they were able to develop a successful code. Finally, students write a citation to accompany a Medal of Honor.
Postwar Prosperity: The Origin of the Teenager
Students brainstorm names of rock & roll artists from the 1950s and 60s. Then they make a chart summarizing three main causes of the concept of a teen-ager. Next they prepare a case study of the life of a mid-century teenager in three stages: preparing questions, conducting an interview, writing the study. Finally they evaluate their work with a rubric.
The Civil Rights Movement
Students write a definition of discrimination and give examples. Then they examine a visual history of discrimination against African Americans following the Civil War. Next they analyze why Brown v. Board of Education and President Johnson’s Great Society program were necessary despite the Civil War Amendments. Finally they read about three civil rights leaders and reflect on how individuals can bring social change, and whether the mid-century Civil Rights Movement was a success.
The U.S. as a World Power
Students define the term cold war. Then they learn the historical background of the Soviet Union. Next they examine two major military conflicts of the Cold War—the Korean Conflict and the Vietnam War. Then they analyze the Space Race as a non-military conflict in the Cold War. Finally, they learn about the Cold War boycotts of the 1980 and 1984 Olympics and formulate an opinion if sports should be politicized.
The Rise of Technology
Students name a cutting edge technology. Then they learn about the economic shift in American from heavy industry to technology and the service industry. Next they examine technologies developed by NASA and reflect on the relationship between competition and innovation. Finally they explore a timeline of innovations from 1950–2000 and write a statement about how a selected innovation contributed to economic growth and its social impact in the United States.
Students make observations about the “Nighttime Map” of U.S. population distribution in the year 2000. Then they describe the U.S. population density from 1790 to 2010 based on an animated map. Next they use an interactive demographic map to answer questions about the U.S. population in 2019. Then they use another interactive demographic map to explore a demographic topic of their own choosing. Finally they learn about the purpose of the U.S. census and create a poster encouraging people to respond to the census questionnaire.