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Explore the Roaring Twenties with this lecture, some research and role playing
Computers & Internet, Social Studies
9, 8, 7, 11, 12, 10
Title – Roaring Twenties
By – Nicole Young
Primary Subject – Social Studies
Secondary Subjects – Computers / Internet
Grade Level – 7-12
Unit: Prosperity and Crisis (1919-1939)
Lesson: The Jazz Age-Life in the Twenties
PA Academic Standards:
- 8.3.12.C. Evaluate how continuity and change has influenced United States history from 1890 to present through innovations, religion, and entertainment.
- 8.3.12.D. Identify and evaluate conflict among social groups in United States history from 1890 to the present.
Goal of this lesson:
- To reconstruct the typical elements in life during the Roaring Twenties in the United States.
- textbook (students) / teacher’s edition
- notebook paper
- pen or pencil
- container with labeled paper strips inside
- lesson plan
- 3 Ã‚Â½ floppy for PowerPoint to correlate with hands-on activity
- teacher notes for PowerPoint
- PowerPoint printouts for students
- print out copy of seating chart
- cut out labeled paper strips and place strips in container so students can draw out
- print copies of role playing exercise information
- print copies of PowerPoint slides for students
- take attendance
- 1. From the lecture presented in class, the students will be able to explain the lifestyle of people living in the 1920s including youth culture, mass entertainment, religion, and prohibition on an essay quiz to be given at a later date.
- 2. From this same lecture, the students will be able to reconstruct and imitate the lives of several key people mentioned in this unit so other students may more clearly interpret the lesson to take place during the developmental activity.
- Play music from 1920s: “Harmonica Blues”
- “Backwards hats, souped-up cars, “sagging”, younger dating ages, combined boy/girl parties…what do all of these things have in common? These are your ways to reject the style of youth culture that was created generations before you. You might do this on purpose or it may just be because a new youth culture is beginning to form. What else do you do that is different from your mother and father and even your grandparents?”
- “Well as rebellious as some teens think they are, a rebellious youth is not a new idea. Your parents’ generations did the same things you are doing at their age. For example, how many of you spend a good bit of money trying to change the appearance of your vehicle? Some of your dad did the same thing by chopping the roofs of their vehicles and by holding rally races late at night. Does this sound new to you?”
- “Let’s go back yet another generation or so. These youths were sneaking out at night or trying to sneak back in early in the morning. Women in particular were getting short haircuts, driving cars, and even participating in sports, while men were wearing much baggier pants.”
- “So when was this time? This was post World War One America in the 1920s just about eighty years ago. If any of you have older grandparents or even great grandparents still around, ask them some time about their childhood and I bet you will be surprised at what you find out.”
- “Today we are going to talk about this rebellious group of people and what their life was like in the 1920s.”
- Take out textbooks, turn to chapter 13 lesson 2, also going to need to take some notes.
- ban on alcohol to combat crime, family violence, and poverty
- Eighteenth Amendment
- criminal gangs in large cities controlled liquor sales
- ex. Al Capone, Chicago (page 395) notice how he is dressed
- gang violence
- positive results: decrease in alcoholism and number of alcohol related deaths
- Twenty-first Amendment
- The “new woman”
- flappers (page 395)
– bobbed short hair, drove cars, played sports
– independent, stylish, own career
– social freedom and economic independence
- flappers (page 395)
- College life
- before ended after high school, now enrollment tripled
- gave a new target group for advertising, movies, and magazines
- Leisure fun and fads
- dance marathons — 3 weeks long in 1928
- beauty contests — founding of the Miss America pageant
- flagpole sitting
- Youth Culture:
- bigger paychecks and more free time
- 800 stations by 1929 reaching over 10 million homes
- broadcast: church services, news, music, sporting events
- silent films, dramas, westerns
- showed changes in morality and sexuality
- professional and college level
- football, baseball
– Babe Ruth (page 396)
- books and magazines
- Mass Entertainment:
- media helped audience to share accomplishments and victories
- youth often copied behavior of their idols
- Babe Ruth
- Charles Lindbergh-flew from New York to Paris in 33.5 hours alone
- Amelia Earhart-first woman to fly across the Atlantic Ocean
- Celebrities and Heroes:
- worried about declining moral standards led to era of revivalism
- some elaborate church messages but made with Hollywood flare
- conservative, Christian doctrine should be accepted without question
- Scopes trial: challenges Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution
Role Playing Exercise:
- Use of Cooperative learning in this developmental activity. While each student acts individually, it takes the group as a whole to contribute.
- 1. Obtain container with labeled paper strips. (Strips have names of vocabulary terms and important people from Unit thus far and today’s lesson.)
- 2. Ask students to draw one label each as it gets passed around the room. No peeking! (1 minute)
- 3. Now that every student has a slip of paper, explain “to reinforce what we just talked about, we are going to have a role playing exercise”. “One student will come to the front of the room and pretend that they are the person listed on their slip of paper. You may speak giving clues, or act out the part, or both, but do not say your person until someone has guessed it. It is remotely like the game charades, but you are allowed to speak. If you get stuck, let me know, and I will give some clues your classmates. Any questions?”
- 4. “Please look on the back of your strips for your number. Would number one please come to the front to go first?”
- (15 minutes)
If time permits:
- Hand out PowerPoint slides for students to use for review.
- Have students get in their teams to discuss the lesson and write the key points in their journal.
- This is a time when students may come to the teacher for questions and concerns.
(remainder of class period)
- All students might not get a turn, but they are still actively involved in the guessing game.
- The enthusiasm the students (have/do not have) will help to show the teacher what the students have learned.
- Although this is not a formal method of evaluation, it will be apparent during the students’ role playing whether or not the objectives of the lesson has been accomplished.
- “I want all of you to think about the people we portrayed in the front of the classroom and talked about in class. Do you think our impersonations of them were fair and accurate, or were we using stereotypes?”
- Give example from one of student’s roles
- “Please continue reading chapter 13, lesson 3 and be prepared to discuss it in class tomorrow. Remember tomorrow is discussion day, so I suggest you organize your notes and be prepared to participate. Chapter 13 everyone.”
Students with Special Needs:
- Student will be seated near front of the room to avoid distractions from other students.
- Also the developmental activity demands active involvement for all students during the role playing exercise. The student with ADHD should be called on throughout the middle and whenever necessary to keep them actively involved.
Strips for Developmental Activity:
|Ku Klux Klan member||Henry Ford|
|Al Capone||Calvin Coolidge|
|Babe Ruth||Thomas Edison|
|Charles Lindbergh||Herbert Hoover|
|Amelia Earhart||Louis Armstrong|
|Ernest Hemingway||Marcus Garvey|
Role Playing Exercise for key figures up to and including the Roaring Twenties:
- Focus on the following:
- 1. characteristics/stereotypes
- 2. historical significance
- 3. important trivial knowledge
- Remember it is more important to learn and have fun. Be creative!
- (Note: If I were you, I would take notes on these important individuals. They are apparently key characters in history… and fair game for the exam. )
- 1. One computer:
- This lesson plan already includes the incorporation of one computer into the classroom. The PowerPoint created revolves around the Roaring Twenties lesson as a role-playing review for the students. Students select a character to describe and act out, but if their classmates become baffled, the PowerPoint presentation is used as a backup. The presentation includes pictures, key points or accomplishments, and trivial information. As students watch their peers, and with the help of the PowerPoint, the guessing game becomes both fun and educational.
- 2. 1 teacher and 6 student computers:
- The class of 24 students will be divided into 6 groups of 4 members. After the presentation of the lesson, each group will receive a person to study in depth (Al Capone, Henry Ford, Babe Ruth, Amelia Earhart, Andrew Carneige, and Marcus Garvey). The students will research online for the historical accomplishments, any interesting trivial knowledge, and the birth and death years of their person. One member will be in charge of recording information, two will rotate using the computer, and one member will be the leader in charge of sorting facts from irrelevant material. After the research has completed, the students will informally present their material to the rest of the class orally.
- 3. 1 computer per student:
- Each student will access the site:
- and view the material and links listed. This site focuses on the 1920s especially on prohibition, women, and even more narrow searches on Al Capone. The virtual tour located here gives the students the opportunity to explore the topics that they are interested in. The site is a creditable classroom resource because it takes its information from a variety of sites. I think the students will benefit from the discovery learning and flexibility of using their own computer.
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