Grade: Middle
Subject: History

#1756. The Cold War - The 1950's

History, level: Middle
Posted Tue May 9 17:03:37 PDT 2000 by Mary Cooksley (
U.S. History - Mary Cooksley, Instructor
Independence High School, Independence, Iowa 50644
Materials Required: Inspiration Software optional - lab of computers for WebQuest
Activity Time: 3 - 5 90 minute class periods
Concepts Taught: Social, Economic and Political aspects of the 1950's

The Cold War
America During the 1950's


Elvis Presley, Disneyland, Rock and Roll, Hula-Hoop, and James Dean. These conjure up images of the Fabulous Fifties. Hidden in the economic baby boom era of the fifties lay a time-bomb the United States thought might go off at any time. It was a time of bomb shelters, of Burt the Turtle, of "Ducking and Covering". You are going to take your students on a journey back in time -- back to a time when teens went to Drive-In movies and Sock-Hops rather than watching HBO and MTV. This unit builds off the web-making activity utilizing the software "Inspiration" to connect ideas of the Cold War immediately following World War II.

Introductory Activity

In order to determine prior knowledge about the 1950's, have students individually brainstorm all the people, places, and ideas that they know about the time period of the 1950's. Then, in groups of four, have students share the items that they wrote down and add any they did not have to their list. Do a Whip-Around and list the items that each group had on their list. Discuss any information they know in relation to the 1950's.

Lesson Activities

1. Introduce key concepts and people associated with the 1950's. Have students complete a KTD graphic organizer. (Attached)
2. Using the concepts and people, assign each student one concept or person. Have students look up the connection to the 1950's and the Cold War. Write a definition or explanation
3. Using the definition, students will create a Profile Poster that describes the connection (with a drawing) to the 1950's and the Cold War. (Attached).
4. Individual student presentation of concepts/people. Audience (students) should record the information given by the presenter.
5. Introduce WebQuest to students.
6. Place students in groups of no more than four.
7. Students will choose roles for each member of the group for their research team.
8. Begin WebQuest
1950's Timequest Webquest
9. Create and put together the Timequest Guidebook


Students will be able to describe the major social, cultural, and political movements of the 1950's by creating and designing a guidebook that conforms to the criteria provided by the Learning Map (rubric - attached)


1. Textbook or selected readings discussing major events of 1950's
2. Computers for up to 30 students (students may pair up if limited accessibility) with Internet access.
3. Teacher generated rubric

Worksheets and rubric that accompany this project may be obtained by inquiring the instructor.

Choose the link listed to go directly to my web site that is linked to the 1950's Webquest.