Lesson: Two Sides to Every Story


Young or old, black or white, man or woman, Democrat or Republican, hawk or dove; one of the few things that most people will agree on when talking about the 1960s is that the world changed over the course of that decade. During those years, tensions were high, attitudes were strong and definite, people were divided about what they believed was right and wrong. On subjects as diverse as the war in Vietnam, women's rights, civil rights, the environment, music, and the way people wore their hair, everyone had an opinion.

Everyone who lived through the decade had their own experience. In this series of activities, students will have the chance to discover living history, explore a broad spectrum of ideas and concepts, and learn about the impact of many different issues on people, places and politics around the world.

Through the lessons and activities in this project, students will have the opportunity to do the following:

  • Assess what they already know about the '60s.
  • Learn facts and details, and identify causes and issues that shaped the era.
  • Consider the impact of the decade on individuals who experienced it.
  • Think about how the '60s shaped the future of the U.S. and the world.
  • Use a variety of resources and learning strategies to focus on students' knowledge, and what they want to learn more about.

This project will integrate disciplines such as history, writing, art and technology, with presentations, research, and thinking and listening skills.

Students will:

  • Gather information in many ways and from many sources
  • Watch video clips, listen to music, view art and images, and read
  • Interview people who experienced the '60s
  • Think deeply about what they learn
  • Form and defend opinions
  • Use available technology to access information, and design and present a product
  • Express and present views and ideas in different ways

Note: To provide a foundation of information and cultivate interest, students and teachers are encouraged to use The Sixties: The Years that Shaped a Generation video as a primary resource, and to become familiar with the wide variety of resources and information available on this Web site, as well as other OPB and PBS sites. The suggested video clips, radio and TV programming, and supporting Web sites are an ideal way to provide students with access to the issues, faces, places, feelings, music, delights and horrors that shaped the 1960s.

NEXT: Content Standards »