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Twentieth Century U.S. History

Dan Gordon, Salem Oregon

1921 – 1930


In the study of this decade of our history, you will be asked to do multiple assignments that will fit the six main topics (science/technology, politics, foreign policy, women/minorities, culture, and economics) that you have identified as the areas of your greatest interest. You must finish the required work in each section before you move to the next set of choices. Section 1 will be finished by January 14, 2000. I know you know the year, but it was my first opportunity to put it on an assignment! You will receive half the available points for each task for the written work and half from an oral defense of what you have learned doing that task.


Section 1: Choose any of these assignments for a maximum of 140 points. You must have at least 130 points to move to section 2.

1.. You have been charged with bootlegging. You have an opportunity to defend yourself in either oral or written form. If you choose the written format, it must be a traditional 5 paragraph essay that will meet the state CIM standards (to be used as a work sample). If you choose to defend yourself orally, again state CIM standards will be used. It must be at least 5 minutes in length ( to be used as a work sample). (20 pts)

2. Draw a "Picasso" portrait. See me for the directions on how to do this! (20 pts)

3.. Draw or create a "disassembled" model of Henry Fords Model T. Give detailed directions on how to assemble your model based upon Ford’s assembly line technique. This must make technical sense (for instance you would not attach the steering wheel before you added a steering column). (20 pts)

4.. Research the rise of the KKK during this time period. Write a two page typewritten paper on the differences in the Klan during this decade and in the decade following the Civil War. Include a conclusion of why you think the Klan had a resurgence and why it took the shape that it did. (20 pts)

5.. Watch the movie Matewan. Write a two page typewritten paper on the plight of the coal miners and how organized labor (unions) helped or hurt them. (20 pts)

6.. Participate in Mr. Gordon’s stock market game for 10 rounds. You will keep a stock portfolio and records of all your transactions. Bonus points may be earned with exceptional performance on your stock portfolio. (20 pts)

7.. Make a collage of the fashions of this decade. Watch the movie Thoroughly Modern Millie. Write a one page typewritten paper critiquing the costuming of the movie. This of course may be a positive or negative critique. (20 pts)

8.. It has been said that every Blues singer had their own definition of the "blues" (i.e.: "Blues aint nothin’ but a good man feelin’ bad", "Blues is a cryin’ woman whose man’s gone and left her"). Listen to a complete album of Ledbelly, and Bessie Smith. Come up with your definition of the blues, and in a one page typewritten paper give both your definition and a defense of that definition. (20 pts)

9.. Jazz was very big in the 20’s. Listen to a complete album of Ella Fitzgerald or Louis Arm- strong and an album of George and Ira Gershwin. All are considered to be great "jazz" musicians but the music is much different. In a two page, typewritten paper review the musical merits of each, explain what is different, and speculate on why there are such differences. (20 pts)

10.. Watch any one of the movies, "Inherit The Wind". Using the information from the movie and from research, write a two page typewritten report on what happened (and why!) to John Scopes. (20 pts)

11.. Present to the class at least 5 Langston Hughes poems. Explain who he was and how he came to write what he did. (20 pts)

12.. Write a letter to Marcus Garvey that either attacks or agrees with his "back to Africa" proposal. It must include at least two historical references to events in Garvey’s life. Those references should be highlighted in your letter. This letter may be written in the language of your choice. (20 pts)

13.. Research the "red scare" of the 20’s and the Palmer raids. Write a two page, typewritten paper on why the country suffered from such paranoia during this time. (20 pts) .

14. Do the section review questions from Chapter 20 in the Addison Wesley book. (20 pts)


Section 2: You have completed the tasks necessary to move to the "B" level of this unit. Following are 4 tasks. You are to choose only one. It must be completed and in to me by Friday, January 21. Maximum points on this section is 30.

1.. In 1923 Robert Goddard began testing on a rocket. To honor his research and his contribution to both rocketry and NASA, you are to build a "bottle rocket". You are limited only by good sense (this((the rocket-not your good sense)) will be tested outdoors) and your fuel, which must consist of vinegar, water, and baking soda. Any other fuel will automatically disqualify you from receiving any points. You must also have a two page typewritten paper on Goddard and his research and contributions. (30 pts)

2.. During the 1920’s it took 13 days to drive from Oregon to New York City. I want you to do a "AAA" style "trip tick". You must provide road maps (from the roads available during this decade), where you intend to stay, average miles per day, average miles per hour (you are driving the very latest Model A in 1929), where you will have to gas up (you must know both the mpg and size of the tank for a Model A), and a budget for the trip. Your budget will have to provide the costs of your budgeted items from 1929. That information can be located in our library. (30 pts)

3.. In 1927 John Gutzon de la Mothe Borglum began his sculpture of Mt. Rushmore. You are to provide a two page typewritten paper on this monumental task, and of Borglum’s background. You are also to duplicate his finished Mt. Rushmore, to scale, using whatever materials you choose. (30 pts)

4.. There were numerous dance crazes during this decade, but perhaps none more popular than "The Charleston". You and a partner may demonstrate this dance to the class, and teach them to do at least some of the basic components of this dance. I have the music if you do not. (27 pts/30pts if in the dress of the time)

Section 3: Congratulations. You are now at the "A" level of this unit. Of the four tasks that follow, you are to choose one. It is to be completed and turned in to me by Friday, January 28. Your maximum point total for this section is 30.

1.. "Widespread use of the automobile more permanently altered the socio-economic structure of this country than any other event of the first half of the twentieth century". You are to assess the validity of this statement using at least five areas of criteria. Please clear these areas with me prior to beginning your research. (30 pts)

2.. Research any one of the following sports heroes: Jack Dempsey, Helen Wills, Lou Gehrig, Babe Didrikson, or Babe Ruth. Complete a six page, typewritten research paper on your subject. In addition, provide pictures and comparative statistics to a current star in the sport(s) in which your subject excelled. (30 pts)

3.. Perhaps nothing is more closely linked to the "Roaring 20’s" than Prohibition. Provide a research paper on Prohibition that includes a brief history of the Temperance movement, the political and social implications of this eperiment in control of social behavior, and how it is linked to "organized crime". It should be at least six typewritten pages in length, but you are likely to have more! (30 pts)

4.. Research the phenomena known as the "Harlem Renaissance" and write a six page, typewritten paper on the subject. It is to include not only examples of the work and opportunities that this "renaissance" provided for writers and artists, but also the social conditions that existed in Harlem and the problems that were created from success. (30 pts)

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