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Teacher's Guide: Hints for the Active Learning Questions

Culture/Civics
1. Those who would answer "yes" might point out that Miss America winners do not resemble women generally. Those who would answer "no" might argue that viewers understand that pageant contestants aren't meant to be representative of the general population.

2. You might also discuss with the class any differences they see between the portrayals of men and women in ads, such as age, body positions, gestures, and facial expressions.

3. You might find examples of social platforms in non-profit charitable organizations your family, school, church or community already supports, in issues that are deeply important to you, or in newspaper stories you find either troubling or inspiring.

History
1. Examples of links between the pageant and broader national developments include a college girl being chosen Miss America for the first time in the 1940s, as women's public roles increased during World War II, and the 1968 protest against the pageant, which reflected the rising women's movement.

2. You might also ask if any girls in the class wish to give their own reasons for using, or not using, makeup.

3. The best decade for American women might be the one in which the most women had the most career and family choices, and the widest range of work opportunities. It might also be the one in which the most women were able to obtain higher education, choose how they should appear, and express themselves in the public sphere as activists, community leaders, politicians, athletes, performers, or scholars. Some might argue that the best decade for American women is one in which the most women didn't have to work, and could concentrate on being mothers and home makers. Regardless of which decade you think is best, make sure you consider the lives of women of all socio-economic backgrounds and all races in your answer.

Geography
1a. Maps should show the following tallies: AL (2), AR (2), AZ (2), CA (6), CO (3), CT (1), DC (2), FL (1), GA (1), HI (2), IL (4), KS (3), KY (1), MI (4), MN (3), MO (1), MS (4), NC (1), NJ (2), NY (3), OH (6), OK (4), OR (1), PA (5), SC (2), TN (2), TX (3), UT (2), VA (2), WI (1).

1b. Students should divide the total population of each state (obtained from the U.S. Census Bureau Web site) by the number of winners from that state to find out the number of winners relative to the state's population. For instance, Alabama, with a 2000 population of 4,447,100, has had two winners, so it's had a winner for every 2,223,550 people in the state. Then the population totals and winner totals can be added up for each of the regions, and students can perform the same calculation, dividing the total population of the region by the number of winners from that region to find out the number of winners relative to the region's population.

2. States where a significant part of the population is African American, such as a number of Southern states, might have had more winners.

Economics
1a. The Businessmen's League of Atlantic City, to maintain business in the city after the end of the summer vacation season on Labor Day.

1b. In the 1950s, Catalina Swimwear withdrew as sponsor after a Miss America refused to wear a bathing suit. The following decade, Pepsi removed its sponsorship after deciding the pageant had not kept up with the times.

1c. The event might attract people who are likely to buy that company's products or services, or the event might be so liked and respected that sponsoring the event could help improve a company's public image.

2. You may want to begin by assembling a list of questions the guide should answer and then assigning each question to a different group of students.

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