Unit Plan

                     Historical Shift-1960s

Unit 7

American History


  • Investigate the nature of tumult in America during the 1960s.
  • Evaluate the major events of the 1960s and determine the impact on modern events.
  • Analyze the connections between actions of systems and individuals on the trajectory of the historical record.

11th Grade Essential Questions:

  • What causes systemic and individual change?
  • What is the role of the individual in creating and sustaining change?
  • What the relationship between the self and a changing world?

Unit Essential Questions:

  • How did the assassination of key leaders during the 1960s impact the changes in systems within the government and the civil rights organizations?
  • In what ways did the events of the 1960s impact the political, military and economic realities of modern events?
  • How do the actions of individuals impact the historical record?
  • How do systemic changes impact the historical record?
  • In what ways were individuals buying into societal systems and in what ways were individuals rebelling against societal systems in the 1960s?


  • The assassinations of JFK, MLK, RFK and Malcolm X dramatically impacted the American people during the 1960s.
  • Leaps forward in science during the 1960s continue to influence decisions and programs of modern exploration and investigation.
  • The Vietnam War was a defining moment in the 1960s, resulting in an enthusiastic counterculture protest.
  • The Civil Rights Movement is helped and hindered by societal systems that shape American History.


Students will know . . .

  • The major events on the 1960s timeline that produced societal change.
  • Short term and long-term impacts of the 1960s assassinations
  • The major means of rebellion and the government response, related both to the Civil Rights Movement and the Vietnam War.
  • The impact of pop culture on the development of a new American landscape for many Americans.

Students will be able to…

  • Analyze a variety of primary source documents
  • Draw conclusions based on historical questions
  • Create a new product from acquired knowledge
  • Summarize main ideas
  • Construct notes from written and oral information
  • Rewrite history based on an educated investigation into a historical point of divergence with the established historical record.

Performance Tasks:

  • What If? Project
  • Data analysis
  • Home and class reading-A People’s History and Give Me Liberty
  • Journaling
  • Reading reflection questions
  • Document Analysis






Learning Activities:

  • Building background with an overview of 4 major pieces of the 60s: war/peace, pop culture, politics and revolutions (borrowed from PBS) 
  • Identify and analyze primary source documents related to the area of study.
  • Debate the Vietnam War draft using Deep Debate.
  • Read secondary sources, summarizing the major events from the 1960s.
  • Explain the impact of the assassinations on the development of the American record.
  • Compare and contrast the war protests with that of the protests surrounding the Iraq War of the modern era.