A Walk Through the 20th Century
Each student reviews the people, places, and events of a particular decade of the 20th Century, writes a report about that decade, and creates a booth of memorabilia, music, dress, pictures and other artifacts representing the time period. Students share their booths with their classmates, and then invite the entire school to a "Celebration of the 20th Century."
Students will learn what life was like during various decades of the 20th Century.
20th Century, U.S. history, culture, graphing, statistics, timeline
Encyclopedia, Internet connection, search engines, a variety of print and online resources about the millenium, the 20th Century, and individual decades of the century
- Have students research the 20th Century to get an overview of all the decades.
- If possible, show a movie or two to provide another perspective on the time period.
- Have each student select a particular decade and write three reasons he or she chose it.
- Arrange students into groups, assigning decades based on student essays and on how well they work together.
- Provide each group with a rubric that requires students to find 10 significant people of the decade (good or bad); to create a timeline of10 significant events, using symbols or drawings to represent each event; to graph a statistic of the time period, such as population growth; and to identify an important invention of the decade. Each group should include a bibliography listing at least 4 different resources for the information.
- Have each group decorate a large cardboard box or science fair presentation board with memorabilia, pictures, and other artifacts representing its assigned decade. People, events, places, inventions, music, and general lifestyle should be included. Groups might also include music, clothing, and cultural representations of the period.
- Have each person in each group present a one-page report explaining what they learned about the assigned decade and how the events of that decade affected the attitude and lifestyles of the people who lived it. The report should include a bibliography and demonstrate competency in research skills.
- Invite students, parents, teachers, and school administrators to attend "A Walk Through the 20th Century Day" and visit each booth. You might also encourage students to recreate popular games from each decade for visiting students to play while attending the event!
Evaluate daily participation, written reports, and final products to determine whether students:
- follow the rubric.
- present and explain the important events and people that affected American lives during their assigned decade.
- appear to understand how lives were affected by these events.
- create neat and well-organized booths that fulfill the requirements of the assignment.
- include a timeline, a graph, and a bibliography.
Lesson Plan Source
Ideas for this lesson were taken from Understanding a Millennium by Gary Grimm and John Artmann (1998) and from Time 100, Time Magazine 20th Century Issues (1998-1999).
Tammy Bunton, (firstname.lastname@example.org), Wren Hollow Elementary Parkway School District, St. Louis, Missouri
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