Teaching GCSE History – USA 1900-1990

Outstanding GCSE history lessons on America

You will be on largely familiar ground here, but you will love the new approaches to the 1920s and the New Deal updated for the new 2016 GCSE curriculum. Students are campaign managers for the 1936 election, counsel for the prosecution of Roosevelt’s New Deal and analysers of adverts about women in the 1920s. As more specifications now feature a detailed study of post-war America, you will find the very best of the old Edexcel Divided Union topic, alongside new material on social change.

This section currently focuses mainly on the earlier period. More lessons on the post-45 era will appear soon. You might like to look at the International Relations 1945-2005 section for the lessons looking at US involvement in the Cold War and Vietnam.

SMART TASKS: Why did the US get involved in the Vietnam War?

Three separate short activities help students produce  a top grade answer to the question.

Task I - brainstorming early ideas

This first introductory task simply asks students to consider the various reasons why the US got involved in Vietnam, going over what has already been learned. Students...
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SMART TASK: Causes of the Wall Street Crash

Students are given a set of influence cards which help them to work out the answer to an apparent paradox. If people were getting rich quick in the 1920s, why then was there such a crash in 1929? Here the focus is on students making their...
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Hoover’s rubbish: Roosevelt moves in

This lesson on a fairly familiar theme approaches GCSE cartoon analysis in a different way.  Instead of showing the students the cartoon they are to interpret, they are simply given an outline, without the detail and certainly without the text.  Using their contextual knowledge students...
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Teaching USA 1900-1990 to Key Stage 4

The first batch of lessons focuses on four examination favourites but each adds a different subtle twist that lifts the lesson and makes students much more active and involved in their learning. The lesson on the economic prosperity of the 1920s encourages students to work out...
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SMART TASK Key Stage 4 – Kennedy and the Cuban Missile Crisis

With the 50th anniversary of the Cuban Missile crisis in the news, it is worth spending time reviewing Kennedy’s reputation. Here is a short task to get GCSE students thinking. Kennedy was a young president. Khrushchev thought he could push Kennedy around. The Bay of Pigs of April 1961...
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Why was there a boom in the US economy in the 1920s?

This lesson was designed for Y10 students on the C/D borderline who were underachieving and were falling down on the factual recall required. The students were used to being spoon-fed so this was a deliberate attempt to give students more responsibility for their own learning....
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Rosa Parks – the true story

This open-ended enquiry explores one of the most abiding stories of American Civil Rights. Students are invited to advise a film director on what actually happened in Montgomery in December 1955.  They are introduced to the standard, simplified, textbook version that all young Americans are...
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Lynching in the US in the 20th century 1919-54

Crammed into this very active lesson are: slow reveal of an arresting image; interesting information about the role of the press; song and lyrics of Strange Fruit; a short video showing latest Feb 20105 research; predicting what a graph of figures of lynchings might look...
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