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Social Studies
Grade: Middle

#267. Looking at the 1960's via Rock n' Roll

Social Studies, level: Middle
Posted by Marla Davis (
Student teacher, Massachusetts
Materials Required: See plan
Activity Time: See plan
Concepts Taught: See plan

Lesson Plan for Interdisciplinary Unit

Teachers: Marla Davis, Kathleen Howell Course: Language Arts, , Social
Length of Lesson: 90 minutes Studies, Music
Grade Level: 7 Subject: Introduction of Unit: History # of Students: 25 of the 1960's through Rock n' Roll.

1. To think about and then write down current knowledge/perceptions about the 1960's
2. To participate in a class discussion after watching some video clips of movies based on the 1960's

Resources Needed:
1. TV & VCR 3. Notepaper
2. Video montage 4. Syllabi

Activity 1 (10 minutes)
Teachers will introduce to the class the topic of the 1960's and the role that music played during this era. Students will understand that for the next 3 weeks, we will be integrating music into history.

Activity 2 (15 minutes)
Students will be divided into 5 groups of 5 (pre-arranged by teachers.) They will be given 15 minutes to discuss within their groups what they know (or think they know) about the 1960's. They will write down their individual thoughts and/or beliefs on notepaper.

Activity 3 (15 minutes)
Students will then be instructed to list 5 songs and/or events from the tape they are about to see. Students will then watch a montage of video clips based on events of the 1960's. Film clips will come from movies such as Good Morning Vietnam, Eyes on the Prize and clips from Woodstock.

Activity 4 (35 minutes)
Students will participate in a class discussion - putting forth things they wrote earlier and new thoughts they may have after watching video clips. Teachers and students will parti- cipate and teachers will stress any important themes that will resurface during the unit.

Activity 5 (15 minutes)
Syllabi for 3 week unit is handed out to students. Teachers review requirements and take questions.

Evaluation of Students:
Observation of students during small group discussions
Participation by students during class discussion

History of the 1960's Through Rock n' Roll
Unit Syllabus
Ms. Davis and Mrs. Howell

During this unit, you will be placed in groups of five. There must be a recorder, two researchers, a presenter and a facilitator. Each group will be assigned a year from the 1960's (1964 - 1968.) You will be investigating this time period in regards to music, cultural attitudes, civil rights, politics, lifestyle, etc. By the end of the unit you will be able to link different music to certain historical events and/or attitudes and be able to communicate to the rest of the class why your year was important to the civil rights movement.

Unit Requirements

Read an approved biography of Martin Luther King, Jr. Suggested titles: Marching to Freedom: The Story of Martin Luther King, Jr. by Joyce Milton or Let the Trumpet Sound: The Life of Martin Luther King, Jr. by Stephen B. Oates. Having read the book, write an essay on how MLK affected the events of your assigned year. In class, students will listen to a song about MLK and will dissect the lyrics of the song and discuss their meaning.
(25% of final grade.)

We will create a timeline which will go from 1964-1968 and will be set up on the bulletin board in the hallway. Each day throughout the 3 weeks of the unit, two students will be responsible for bringing in a short synopsis of an event that took place during their respective year. They will make a brief (2-3 min.) presentation to the class about the event (date, place, significance) and the item will be put up on the timeline. Each student must do AT LEAST one timeline presentation. Students can do more for extra credit (see teacher to schedule.) (15% of final grade.)

Each group of five students will make a 15-20 minute oral/visual presentation to the class on their year. You may be as creative as you want. Your roles (facilitator, presenter, researchers and recorder) come into play here. You must work together as a group on this presentation, utilizing your "jobs". Feel free to employ video, posters, music into your presentation.
(25% of final grade.)

As a group, you will select a song from your year that has significant lyrics relating to either civil rights, apathy, freedom, etc. You will dissect these lyrics via group discussion, writing down thoughts and feelings you have about the song. You will then, individually, create a record cover (CD cover) for your song that somehow reflects its meaning. (15% for lyric dissection, 10% for art work.)

Ending Activity: In writing, you will submit a reflection on your thoughts about the 1960's as a whole and this unit. What did you learn about the 1960's over the past 3 weeks? Give specific examples. What research methods did you employ? How did music play a part during the decade? Did you like this unit? Why or why not? (10% of final grade.)
Teacher Suggestions:

Each day of the unit, post a trivia factoid entitled "Did You Know?" about the 1960's on the board.

Have a 2-day lesson on Women in the 1960's. You could talk about ERA, Gloria Steinem, Betty Freidan, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and the Kennedy family, Angela Davis (Black Panthers), Janis Joplin, Tina Turner, etc.