Pop Culture: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Suzanne Rose

Suzanne has taught all levels PK-graduate school and has a PhD in Instructional Systems Design. She currently teachers literacy courses to preservice and inservice teachers.

Have you seen any great movies lately? Read a new book? Checked out popular fashions online? If you have, you have been looking into pop culture. Read on to find out what pop culture is and how it has changed over time.

What is Pop Culture?

What are all your friends talking about right now? A certain television program? A type of sneakers that your friends all are wearing? All these things are part of pop culture. Short for 'popular culture,' pop culture includes everything that regular people are talking about and are interested in. Rather than movies that critics say are 'the best,' or books that highly educated people like, pop culture includes the attitudes, movies, books, art, and music of everyday people, usually younger people.

Pop Culture Changes Over Time

Because pop culture is the culture of younger people, it changes over time. The pop culture of the 1950s is different than the pop culture of the 1990s or the 2010s. Things that fascinate young people and make them stand out from their parents are the pop culture for each generation. When we look back at certain time periods in history, we can identify the pop culture trends that were important at the time.

Poodle Skirt and Jukebox

Pop Culture of the 1950s

In the 1950s, the most popular musician was Elvis Presley, and rock and roll music was just beginning. Girls wore poodle skirts and boys had short hair. Television was new, and the shows were mostly westerns or variety shows with singing and dancing. Kids liked to roller skate and listened to music on a jukebox. The TV show Happy Days showed much of the popular culture of the 1950s.

Pop Culture of the 1960s

By the 1960s, popular culture had changed. The Beatles were one of the most popular musical groups. Girls wore short skirts and bright colors. Boys began to have longer hair. Wild colors and patterns were used in clothing and home furnishings. Everyone was fascinated with space because of the Apollo space missions. Kids enjoyed skateboarding and magic trolls.

Pop Culture of the 1970s

Girls in the 1970s wore their hair long and straight and didn't wear much make-up. Bell-bottom jeans were 'cool.' Kids liked playing with Nerf balls and pet rocks! The first video game, called 'Pong,' was a big hit in the 1970s when Atari started selling the first home video game system. The movie Star Wars, was a huge hit, and everyone was listening to disco music and learning to disco dance.

Pop Culture of the 1980s

In the 1980s, popular culture changed again. Almost opposite of the 1970s, the 1980s were a decade of 'big hair' and lots of make-up! Madonna set the fashion scene for girls. Everyone became fascinated with the British monarchy because of the wedding of Princess Diana and Prince Charles. Some popular movies of the 1980s were Ferris Bueller's Day Off and the Indiana Jones movies.

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