U.S. History Project: 50's and 60's with a Focus on Vietnam

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U.S. History Project: Teachers Work Together

Language arts and social studies teachers can work together to teach students how to write and to present a historical research paper. After the social studies teacher has gone over the basic historical material over the American time period of the 50’s and 60’s in class, students will choose their project presentation ideas from the suggested list. Both teachers can give up class time to allow for research in the library.

List of Possible Topics for 50’s and 60’s American Time Period

John Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Warren Commission, Civil Rights, NASA, Great Society, Medicare, Medicaid, Earl Warren, Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King, Cold War, Berlin Wall, Bay of Pigs, Cuban Missile Crisis, Peace Corps, Birmingham, Ali, Civil Rights Act, James Baldwin, Malcolm X, Women’s Movement, Roe v. Wade, Betty Friedan, Iran, Cesar Chavez, Wounded Knee, Three Mile island, EPA, Ralph Nader, Counterculture, Woodstock, Henry Kissinger, Watergate, Robert Kennedy, Oil Crisis, Neil Armstrong, Bicentennial, Helsinki Accords, Barbra Jordan, Camp David, fashions of the time, music of the time, movies of the time, Viet Minh, Vietcong, Hanoi, Cold War, Domino Theory, Ho Chi Minh, Saigon, DMZ, Da Nang, Khmer Rouge, Ngo Dinh Nhu, Dien Bien Phu, Guerrilla Warfare, Nguyen Van Thieu, Nguyen, Cao Ky William Westmoreland, Creighton Abrams, Bombing of Hanoi, Haiphong, Lyndon Johnson, Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, Geneva Accords, Glassboro, Ia Dang Valley, Dak To Loc Ninh, Khe Sanh, Tet Offensive, Vo Nguyen Giap, Vietnam, Richard Nixon, Cambodia, Pacifism, protest movement, Kent State Shootings, My Lai, William Calley, Pentagon Papers, Quang, Tri Offensive, Henry Kissinger, Paris Peace Talks, Draft, Le Duc Tho, Agent Orange, Napalm

Research Paper Requirements

When students begin researching in middle school, they struggle with using note cards. A tip to “baby-step” toward making note cards is to allow students to highlight important information or facts from printouts or notes. A discussion about plagiarism should be included with the lesson. When students turn in their first draft, they should turn in the notes as well. Teachers can then spot check for plagiarism.

The final copy should be typed, double spaced, in a plain size 12 font. Or, it could be written in ink on the front side of the paper only. Each paper must have at least 5 sources. A cover page, outline and works cited page must be included.

Students Present the Information with Visual Aid

Bring the classes together in a central location and direct students to present their findings for a wrap-up of this project. Each presentation should include a brief synopsis of key information and a visual aide to support the topic. The speeches can be practiced and organized in language arts class. The social studies teacher can help students make the visual aids. Assess presentations using a rubric. Criteria for the rubric could include content, organization, eye contact, volume, pace, and overall neatness or relevancy of the visual aid.

Two Teachers Grade the Research Paper

It is somewhat more time consuming, but both teacher should grade the papers from this U.S. History project. An easy way to do this is to make a grade sheet. The social studies teacher will grade for content appropriate for the project presentation ideas chosen. The language arts teacher will grade for organization, proper format and use of writing conventions.

This project will help students make connections between social studies and language arts class. In addition, students will see two colleagues working together successfully and get two grade for one large project.