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US History in the 1920s Activities for High School

Instructor: Tawnya Eash

Tawnya has a master's degree in early childhood education and teaches all subjects at an elementary school.

Are you looking for ways to bring the 1920s to life for your students? This lesson is packed with engaging activities that will ignite interest and deepen students' understanding of history during this time period.

The US in the 1920s

The US changed a lot during the ''Roaring 20s.'' The country urbanized rapidly as many people moved out of rural areas and into cities. The nation's wealth doubled, allowing people to spend more money for entertainment and household items. Women were given the vote and began to work in white collar jobs. Chain stores started to spread, and popular culture expanded, providing the people with new music, dances, and lingo.

Unfortunately, this time period also brought about some negativity and tension. People were frustrated with prohibition, the second rise of the Ku Klux Klan, demographic shifts caused by the Great Migration, and other changes.

Helping your students understand these changes is an important part of teaching them about this era. The activities in this lesson will allow them to explore important people and events of the 1920s so that they can deepen their understanding of this key period in American history.

1920's Timeline

This activity helps your students highlight significant events and dates with a timeline.

Materials

  • Non-Technology Based Option
    • Large poster paper or paper rolls
    • Crayons, colored pencils, markers
    • Rulers
    • Notebooks
    • Pencils
  • Technology Based Option
    • Computers with word processing programs, such as Microsoft Word or Publisher
    • Printer and printer paper
    • Notebooks
    • Pencils

Procedure

  • Students can work individually or in pairs.
  • Ask students to collect information on important dates and events to record in their notebooks. They should strive to have around 10-15 dates/events that can be placed on their timeline.
  • Tell students to create a timeline highlighting important dates and events from the 1920s.
    • Timelines can be created by hand, with technology. You can choose the method for students or allow them to choose.
  • Allow students to display their completed timelines in a classroom, hallway, or gallery walk.

What's the Problem?

This research and presentation activity allows students to explore changes in America during the 1920s.

Materials

  • Computers
    • Presentation program, such as PowerPoint or Google Slides
    • Internet for research
  • Projector with screen for presentation
  • Poster paper
  • Crayons, markers, colored pencils

Procedure

  • Split students into groups of three or four.
  • Have a class discussion on some of the events that caused tension in the 1920s. For example, you could discuss prohibition, the second rise of the Ku Klux Klan, the Great Migration, and the 19th Amendment to the US Constitution.
  • Ask each group of students to conduct additional research to dig in deeper into the issues you discussed as a class.
  • Ask each group of students to share their research with their class (or another class) in the form of a presentation. Presentations must incorporate technology and should also include:
    • At least three problems that are clearly identified and described
    • An appealing layout and organization
    • Pictures or visual aids relevant to the information being presented

''Living in the Past'' Biographies

In this activity, students get to bring the past to life by sharing a biography of a significant figure from the 1920s.

Materials

  • Computers
    • Internet access
    • Word processing program, such as Microsoft Word
  • Clothing and make-up from home
  • Notebooks
  • Pencils
  • Index cards

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