Politics of the 1920s Lesson Plan

Instructor: Kerry Gray

Kerry has been a teacher and an administrator for more than twenty years. She has a Master of Education degree.

Teach students about the politics of the United States in the 1920s. You'll use a video lesson, charts, concept maps, and role playing activites, as well as administer a short quiz.

Learning Objectives

After this lesson, students will be able to:

  • describe the U.S. Presidential election in 1920
  • summarize the scandals of the Harding administration
  • discuss the Coolidge administration


This lesson will take 45-90 minutes.

Curriculum Standards


Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary of the source distinct from prior knowledge or opinions.


Integrate visual information (e.g., in charts, graphs, photographs, videos, or maps) with other information in print and digital texts.


Ask students what they know about U.S. Presidential scandals. If students need prompting, mention the Iran Contra Affair, Watergate, and/or the Lewinsky scandal. Explain that this lesson is about another scandalous presidency.

Watch the video lesson American Politics in the 1920s: Transition, Corruption & the Teapot Dome Scandal as a class. Pause at 1:41.

As a class, create a chart comparing the key players in the 1920 election: Woodrow Wilson, Warren Harding, Calvin Coolidge, James Cox, and Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Discuss the reasons why Harding had such strong support from the public.

Continue watching the video. Pause at 2:38.

Have students write a 5- minute quick write that describes the irony of Harding's campaign slogan. Allow students to share the things they wrote and discuss.

Continue watching the video. Pause at 4:06.

Divide students into groups. Have each group create a concept map that describes the Harding administration.

Watch the remainder of the video.

Revisit the chart about the 1920s election. Ask students for additional information about Harding and Coolidge to add.

Role Playing Activity

Divide students into groups.

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