Snapshots: The Decades
Western Reserve Public Media

The Decades

Snapshot: The Decades matches standards for Grade 10 social studies and language arts. The educational curriculum committee that advises Western Reserve Public Media recommended the topic of the decades from 1920 through the 1960s as one for which teaching materials were most needed. They said that there are many resources available, but very few offer a coherent approach to the topic. Based on their recommendations, we created this multimedia package. Teachers can use either the simulation section for an overall approach to the decades or they can use the lesson plans that address each topic in the standards individually. The videos are an overview of each decade, with an emphasis on the topics listed in the educational standards.


How to Use the Snapshot: The Decades Multimedia Package
Listed below are the components of this package. Each of them, the videos, teacher guide and Web site, can be used independently of one another. None requires the use of any other part of the package.It is our hope that teachers will use the package as it fits into their classroom curriculum. All of the lessons are keyed to social studies and/or language arts content standards for Grade 10. Ideally, there could be some collaboration between the social studies and the language arts teachers in presenting Snapshot: The Decades.


Package Contents

Five 10-minute Instructional Videos

  • The 1920s analyzes the major political, economic, social and scientific developments of the 1920s. Emphasis is given to the Red Scare, women’s right to vote, black Americans’ migration from the South to the North, immigration restrictions, nativism, race riots, the reemergence of the Ku Klux Klan, the Roaring Twenties, the Harlem Renaissance, stock market speculation and the stock market crash.

  • The 1930s analyzes the causes and consequences of major political, economic and social developments of the 1930s. Emphasis is given to the Great Depression, the Dust Bowl and the New Deal.

  • The 1940s analyzes the impact of U.S. participation in World War II and the major domestic developments at home. Emphasis is on the events happening at home to support the war efforts, such as women and minorities in the workforce and the internment of Japanese-Americans who lived in the western United States.

  • The 1950s traces immigration patterns, post-World War II prosperity, the space race and McCarthyism.

  • The 1960s looks at the impact of Brown v. Board of Education and how this act affects discrimination practices in all areas of our lives. The Civil Rights Movement and the Vietnam War are seen in terms of the counterculture and the women’s rights movements.

Teacher Guide
Two approaches have been taken in this multimedia kit: simulation exercises and lesson plans.

The Simulation
Students are asked to think about the question, “If I didn’t live now, when would I like to live and why?” Each decade (1920s through the 1960s) has a template that allows students to do research about the political, economic, social and scientific events of that time period. Students start by making a timeline of whichever topic the group is working on and then the timelines are merged so that a timeline for the decade encompasses all aspects of the period.

The Lesson Plans
Topics of the lesson plans for each decade are listed here. Most lessons have helpful Web links at the end of the lesson for student use.

The Introduction contains these lessons:

  • The scenario for the simulation
  • The templates for each decade
  • A presentation checklist
  • An introductory activity
  • The Literature Connection — A short synopsis of books that define each decade is given along with a sample lesson plan for one of the books
The 1920s includes lessons about these topics:
  • A decade of turmoil — a newspaper project
  • Writing a letter home about the Great Migration
  • Expert groups about the Roaring Twenties
  • The Harlem Renaissance
  • The Women’s right to vote
The 1930s includes these lessons:
  • An oral history about the Great Depression
  • A newspaper project about the Dust Bowl
  • Graphic organizers used to explain the New Deal
The 1940s offers three personal letters that students will respond to. The letters are about these subjects:
  • Minorities in the workforce
  • The Japanese internment
  • Women in the workforce
The 1950s chapter has students complete these projects:
  • A graph of immigration patterns
  • A search for the causes of post-World War II prosperity
  • Expert groups on the Space Race
  • A chance to compare McCarthyism with what is happening today with the Patriot Act
The 1960s chapter looks at a time of changing ideas through the study of the following events:
  • Brown v. Board of Education
  • The Civil Rights Movement
  • Opposing views of the Vietnam War
The Web site contains these resources:
  • The complete teacher guide (in a PDF format)
  • Language arts and social studies standards
  • The instructional videos
Copyright©2006, Northeastern Educational Television of Ohio, Inc. All rights reserved.