2 class periods of 90 minutes each
Thinking & Reasoning
- Students will understand the ripple effect of the baby boom generation on history and on their lives today.
- By sequencing events students will understand how the rules and conformity of the 1950's set the stage for the rebellious, anti-establishment sixties.
Use your own expertise and knowledge of the era to help students synthesize the changes from the fifties to the sixties, as a result of the economic, political and social transitions.
Handout - timeline for sequencing events Peter Jennings
Possible Videos: I Love Lucy, Happy Days, Leave It to Beaver, The Century -
Background for Teachers
Excellent resource materials:
- David Haberstam: The Fifties
- America: A Narrative History by Tindall and Shi
Student Prior Knowledge
Textbook information 1950-1960
Students interviews of people that were teens during this era.
- Students will study the textbook on the 1950-1960 and place important events on time-line.
- The Teacher will lecture and model the cause effect of events in the 1950's and their outcome in the 1960's.
- Students will create a brochure or T-chart comparison of 1950-1960's.
The following topics can be covered to show the ripple effect of the baby boom generation.
- GI Bill
- Small Business loans
- Redistribution of people
- White-flight - to the suburbs
- development of economical housing - Levittown
- Sunbelt and black migration north
- Fewer farmers---> Agribusiness
- Interstate freeways
- Dr. Spock
- Following rules v. anti- establishment
- Jobs: IBM - "Man in the Gray Flannel Suit"
- Economic needs - Appliances, autos "keeping up with the Jones"
- Religion - Billy Graham, Norman Vincent Peale
- Fear of communism and godlessness
- Teenagers as a cultural group- spending power and rise to rock and roll music
- Roles of Middle Class Women
- Support husband and cater to family
- Betty Friedan's Feminine Mystique
- Birth Control
- Television sets the standards and values for homes - movie attendance drops
- TV shows that portrayed the perfect family v. reality of "real" homes
- Leave it to Beaver, American Bandstand, Mickey Mouse Club,
- I Love Lucy, etc.
- Rise of Rock and Roll (Afro-American rhythm and blues crossing over to the white teenager consumer)
- American Bandstand
- Elvis Presley and other music leaders
- Consumerism and Advertising
- Credit Cards - Diner's Club
- Buying on Credit (Keeping up with the Jones)
- Franchise - Ray Kroc - McDonald's
- The rise of nationwide business chains with standardization products and services (again conformity)
- Eating out more often
- John Galbraith's The Affluent Society
- Youth Rebellion
- Beatniks - Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg
- "Rebel Without A Cause" and Catcher in the Rye - creates a youth culture
- Hippies - Middle Class White Teenagers actually live off the system they protested against
- Education and Technology
- Sputnik --> National Education Act
- RAND Corp. Think tanks, Calculators, transistors, air conditioning
- Have students turn in time-lines for a quick visual check of accuracy.
- Writing Assignment: Explain how the Baby Boom and its demands on society brought about the cultural and lifestyles changes from the 1950's to the 1960's.
- Have students put together a brochure or newsletter describing the 1950's as an era of conformity. Have students search the Internet for photographs and illustrations to include in their presentation.
- Have students work in small groups to present a slide presentation on the computer on one area of the 1950's.(For example, architecture, music, sports, TV, etc.)
- Have students interview their parents or grandparents on their experiences in High School. Have students work on survey questions as a class. Then use the interviews for class discussion about the era.