the 1920 s a 4 th grade unit n.
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The 1920’s: A 4 th Grade Unit. Essential/Driving Questions:. - Does diversity improve American culture, why or why not? - How do people change and adapt to their environment (social, physical, and economic) and what are the consequences of these changes and adaptations?

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The 1920’s: A 4 th Grade Unit

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essential driving questions
Essential/Driving Questions:

- Does diversity improve American culture, why or why not?

- How do people change and adapt to their environment (social, physical, and economic) and what are the consequences of these changes and adaptations?

- Are the changes of the 1920’s all good?

enduring understandings
Enduring Understandings:

The culture within the Harlem Renaissance and how it affected the African American community. An introduction to the music and art of the culture.

- Geography: Rural areas vs. urban areas. How did the two differ? Were both experiencing times of wealth at the same time. Talk about local history in Champaign.


- The causes of economic prosperity, including machines, factories, and the process of standardized mass production. The understanding that not everyone enjoyed the prosperity of the 1920’s.

- United States was not yet a world power.

- The changes in the constitution including women’s suffrage and prohibition and the events that led up to those changes. The different philosophy of the government at the time (laissez-faire).

  • The events that led up to the stock market crash and the immediate effects. For example, people began to buy things on credit which led them to have a false sense of security and encouraged them to spend more than they actually had. An example of an immediate effect would be the banks closing because people were trying to withdraw their funds.
performance expectations standards taken from the middle grades
Performance Expectations StandardsTaken from the middle grades:
  • IC
  • ID
  • IE
  • II B, C, F
  • III G, H, J
  • IV A, B, H
  • V B, F
  • VI G
  • VII A, F, G
  • IX A
suggested lessons and activities
Suggested Lessons and Activities:

(Tuning In)

-Introduce the 1920’s through music using the following website:

-Teacher will play the music and ask if any of it sounds familiar. The teacher will lead a discussion about how the music of the 1920’s influenced today’s music and how things have changed. The 1920’s was a time of many changes in our culture.


(Finding Out, Sorting Out, Going Further)

-students will role play about events in the 1920’s using different perspectives

-students will research their perspective and peer teach their group members

-the whole class will participate in a fishbowl conversation


(Making Connections, Preparing to Find Out, Sorting Out, Going Further)

-stock market simulation

-buy and sell stocks

-check on daily basis


(Finding Out, Sorting Out, Going Further, Making Connections)

-read and discuss poetry from popular Harlem Renaissance authors (Langston Hughes and Claude McKay)

-write own poem about the Harlem Renaissance

-full lesson plan available


(Finding Out, Sorting Out)

-students will read newspaper articles from the 1920’s and write a script to re-enact the events in the article

-reader’s theater in class


(Making Connections, Taking Action)

-make a newspaper about events in the 1920’s

-each student makes a front page, headline, and one article

(Finding Out, Sorting Out)

-Reading Integration

-read the book Harlem by Dean Myers using read-aloud technique

-quickwrite after read-aloud


(Making Connections)

-explore art from Harlem Renaissance

-look at paintings and pictures

-students draw own picture

literacy links
Literacy Links

From Ballots to Breadlines: American women 1920-1940 by: Sara Jane Deutsch.

War, Peace, and all that Jazz. 1918-1945 Book 9 By: Joy Hakim.

Footsteps African American Heritage. By: Langston Hughes.


 Prohibition: The history magazine for young people. Cobblestone Volume 14 October 1993 #8.

Websites for student reference to study the 1920’s

Website for music for the introduction lesson:


Website for teacher reference

Harlem. By: Walter Dean Myers

The Market Wedding by Cary Fagon Tundra Books, September 1, 2000. Grades 2-5


 Homesick, My Own Story by Jean Fritz

“A Dream Deferred” by Langston Hughes

“The Tropics in New York” by Claude McKay

The End of the Roaring Twenties: Prohibtion and Repeal by Bill Severn, New York, J. Messner, 1969.


Website for further references of poetry and prose from the Harlem Renaissance


 -Formative assessment will take place throughout the unit during class. Students will be asked to share what they have learned about the 1920’s at the end of lessons by doing a quickwrite. Students will then be given an opportunity to share their quickwrite with the class and student and teacher feedback will be provided.

assessment continued
Assessment Continued…

-A summative assessment will be done at the end of the unit through a debate format. Students will have a debate about issues in the 1920’s through role playing. The debates will be based on the notes they took during group presentations throughout the unit.

-Oral and written assessment