Lesson Plan: 1968 in Images

1968: America in Turmoil

Richard Norton Smith talks about events that occurred in the U.S. in 1968 leading into the presidential conventions.

Description

1968 looms large in our national memory as we remember key events that shaped the country. The Vietnam War. Political assassinations. The space race. Race relations. Student street protests. A fractious presidential election. In this lesson, students will view a collection of images in the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C. that examine the pivotal events and personalities of that year.

Procedures

  • Step 1:

    Students may take notes on the accompanying handout as they view the video clips in this lesson.

    Handout: 1968 in Images (Google Doc)

    As a class, view the video below and engage in class discussion to provide context for the year 1968.

    Video Clip 1: 1968: America in Turmoil (3:54)

    Richard Norton Smith talks about events that occurred in the U.S. in 1968 leading into the presidential conventions.

  • Step 2:

    In the following video clips, Portrait Gallery Historian James Barber talks about artwork in the gallery that are part of their 1968 in Images exhibit.

    Divide students into groups to view this collection of videos that are grouped according to topic. Students can take notes to record key points as they relate to this historic time and the impact the people and events had on the country.

    Video Clip 2: Vietnam War (3:19)

    Video Clip 3: Civil Rights (7:03)

    Video Clip 4: Armed Resistance (1:50)

    Video Clip 5: Culture/Counterculture (5:24)

    Video Clip 6: Film and Television (3:00)

    Video Clip 7: Sports (5:42)

    Video Clip 8: Politics (6:45)

    Video Clip 9: Apollo 8 Mission: Earthrise (1:20)

  • Step 3:

    Have students share the information they learned from the videos through class discussion. They should explain how the images reflect conditions in the nation in 1968.

    Culminating Activity: Student Exhibit

    Ask students to consider the facts on their note-taking charts and the information obtained during class discussion as they create a collection of artwork that reflects key people/events that shaped the country over the past year. Students can select a topic of their choice or one from this lesson to research iconic images to include in their collection. Images can be printed out with captions, shared on Snapchat with images and text or added to a Google Slide/PowerPoint to share with the class.

Additional Resources

Vocabulary

  • Advocate
  • Black Panthers
  • Cesar Chavez
  • Iconic
  • Juxtaposition
  • My Lai Massacre
  • Political Machine
  • Poor People

Topics

Campaigns & ElectionsCivil Rights & Civil LibertiesMediaU.S. HistoryWorld History

Grades

High SchoolUniversity