Roaring 20s Lesson Plan

Instructor: Sharon Linde
The Roaring '20s were an important time in American history. Help give your students context about this era using our video lesson. Ask students to dig into the 1920s and follow up with an engaging activity.

Learning Objectives

After this lesson, students will be able to:

  • define key vocabulary words
  • compare and contrast the 1920s to present time
  • discuss themes of the 1920s


  • 1 hour


  • Photographs of 1920s culture (enough for each grouping to have 5-8 pictures; duplicates are okay)
  • Poster boards
  • Glue
  • Scissors

Key Vocabulary

  • Roaring '20s
  • urbanization
  • speakeasies
  • flapper
  • Harlem Renaissance

Curriculum Standards

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.9-10.4

Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including vocabulary describing political, social, or economic aspects of history/social science.

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.9-10.9

Compare and contrast treatments of the same topic in several primary and secondary sources.

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.9-10.1

Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grades 9-10 topics, texts, and issues, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.


  • For homework the night before, ask students to bring in a magazine.
  • Begin by having students complete the statement 'Change is….' Share and discuss.
  • Tell students they will be learning about an important time in history referred to as the Roaring '20s. Share background knowledge.
  • Have students create topic headers in their notebooks labeled Urbanization, Social Issues, and Leisure and Entertainment. Direct them to take notes on these topics.
  • Show the video 1920s American Culture: City Life & Values.
  • Pause at 6:48 and discuss:
    • What made the 1920s a dynamic decade? Explain.
    • Why were modern values more pronounced in urban areas?
    • Describe the impact urbanization, social issues, and entertainment had on the decade. Discuss specific aspects of each.
    • How did the 'flapper' reflect and impact women's role in society?
    • What role did consumerism play in the 1920s?
    • What did jazz music represent in the 1920s? Does it still?
  • Play the remainder of the video. Ask:
    • How did the decade divide Americans? Give examples and explain.
  • Review student notes on urbanization, social issues, and entertainment. Ensure key facts and components are understood about the 1920s. Record on chart paper or the board.


  • Ask students if the 1920s are similar to our times in any way. Compare the rights of women then and now, or what music reflected then and now. How are times the same and different?
  • Divide students into small groups. Show pictures from the 1920s and discuss.
  • Tell students they will be creating a comparison collage of past and present. For example, students may choose a photograph of women in different styles of dress, cut each out, and glue side by side. Underneath (or on another piece of paper), students will write how the styles are the same and different.
  • Share posters and discuss. Display in classroom.


  • Ask students if they noticed the reaction of more conservative people to the changes in the 1920s. Is this happening still today? Have students research and write about how change meets resistance throughout history.
  • Research the Harlem Renaissance. Use our related lesson below to launch a unit investigating the culture and impact of the movement.
  • Investigate what it was like for students in the 1920s. Use our related lesson below to form ideas about schools and culture.

Related Lessons

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