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Vietnam & Cold War Lesson Plan using Protest Songs (Audio)

Teacher Name: Shelby L. Carbaugh

Lesson Title: The Vietnam War: Viewed from Popular Music of the Era
Target Grade/Subject: 11th Grade / Virginia & U.S. History
Students in this class represent a diverse group of ethnic backgrounds, but
socio-economically a majority are middle class. This lesson is designed for
the College-Prep level classroom and all students have demonstrated
proficiency in Internet-based research and have a working knowledge of
creating PowerPoint presentations, and all possess a county-issued iBook. In
all there are a total of 31 students, six of which have IEP's and two English-
Length: 2-3 class periods

The student will demonstrate knowledge of United States foreign policy since
World War II by
b) explaining the origins of the Cold War, and describing the Truman Doctrine
and the policy of containment of communism, the American role of wars in
Korea and Vietnam, and the role of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization
(NATO) in Europe;

Essential Questions:
1. What was the impact of the Vietnam War on Americans at home?
2. What was the impact of the Vietnam War and the hostilities at home for
the soldier fighting in Vietnam?

• Develop an understanding of the controversial nature of the Vietnam
• Identify various points of view about the U.S. involvement in the
Vietnam War.
• Discover several social themes present in much of the popular music of
the period.
• Recognize propaganda devices at work in specific song lyrics of the

Tools and Resources

• “The Americans” textbook (Chapter 30)
• iBooks


Technology/Classroom Arrangement and Management Strategies:

• Students will be allowed time in class and during Panther time to
access the Internet to conduct research and design PowerPoint
Prerequisite technology skills needed by students:
• Basic working knowledge of the Internet and word processing skills.
• Basic editing skills in using PowerPoint and ability to embed protest
songs within presentation.

Lesson Development

Focus and Review of previous work/knowledge:

The students and teacher will engage in a class discussion as review of the
meaning and foundations of The Cold War as it was essentially a competition
between two very different ways of organizing government, society, and the
economy. We will discuss the American-led western nations’ belief in
democracy, individual freedom and a market economy, and the Soviet belief
in a totalitarian state and socialism. Further we will revisit the concept that
the U.S. government and its anti-Communist strategy of containment in Asia
directly as it resulted in America’s involvement in both the Korean and
Vietnam Wars.

Anticipatory set:
What is propaganda?
What is a protest?
How does contemporary music reflect the voice of the people?
What were doves and hawks and what did each group represent?

Imagine the school board has just announced that the junior/senior prom will
be cancelled at all county schools this year. What would you or could you do
to attempt to change the policy? Would you be willing to go to jail as a result
of your actions? Teacher will listen to students brainstorm methods of

Instructional Activity:
• Students will be placed in groups of 9 forming 3 groups. Each group
will be assigned the following songs:
o “The Star Spangled John Lennon (1969)
Banner” Jimi Hendrix o “Fortunate Son”
(1970) Creedence Clearwater
o “War” Edwin Starr Revival (1969)
(1970) o “I-Feel-Like-I’m-to-Die-
o “Ballad of the Green Rag” Country Joe
Berets” Sgt. Barry McDonald (1970)
Sandler (1966) o “Ohio” Crosby, Stills,
o “The Unknown Soldier” Nash &Young (1970)
The Doors (1968) o “Born in the USA” Bruce
o “Give Peace A Chance” Springsteen (1984)
• Students will research each song and determine if it could be
considered a protest song, and if so which side of the Vietnam
argument did the song support.
• Students will examine specific lyrics of each song and determine what
the artist’s message was attempting to communicate to the audience.
• Each student will share their information with their group on their
individually assigned song.
• Each group will design a PowerPoint presentation creatively combining
each song with visual imagery of the time, either in Vietnam or at

Guided practice and checking for understanding (student activities):

Students will edit the PowerPoint presentation with the following
o Students will be encouraged to use lyrics found in each song
combined with visuals (primary sources) throughout their group
PowerPoint in order to tell the story of the time visually. Each
song must be used and embedded within the presentation with a
minimum of three slides.
When reviewing selected songs students
should ask themselves:
- What is the “mood” of the song?
- Is it a patriotic song?
- Is it a protest song?
- Is it both?

Independent practice (student activities):

-Students will have time in class and during Panther time to work in
their groups to ensure their project as a whole is complete for
presentation. At this point the groups will be able to edit or add any
information that could perhaps enhance or improve the project once
linked together as a whole.
-Each group will present their PowerPoint to the class. We will discuss
the overall trends that were commonly found in each group’s research
and presentations. We will also discuss any differing trends or
information that may have been discovered by one or more group.
-The teacher will then present her own PowerPoint presentation linking
songs from the Cold War era during the 1980’s, specifically the songs
“Russians” by Sting (1985) and “Winds of Change” by the Scorpions

-Students will be asked to interview two adults that can discuss with
the student their own experiences here in the United States or abroad
during the Cold War and also Vietnam War Eras. Topics of discussion
could be such events as the Cuban Missile Crisis, protests during the
Vietnam War, being drafter and or serving in the Armed Services
during these times, the fall of the Berlin Wall, their life as students at
that time (ex: home bomb shelters and school drills.) Remind students
to include their interviewees thoughts and feeling on at least two of the
protest songs used in our project. Each student will draft a list with a
minimum of twelve thoughtfully drawn up and engaging questions for
each interview and write an essay describing the interviewees
experiences and the students reflection upon that experience as it
relates to what we have learned in our unit on the Cold War. Students
will present to the class in a 5-7 minute presentation their experience
and findings.

Evaluation Procedure

Assessment of objectives:
Each student will be asked to complete the two short essays below in class:
• Review and respond to the following piece of popular music/lyrics from
the Vietnam War, discuss the purpose and content of the song.
• Imagine it is 1967. Do you think you would ally yourself with the
hawks or the doves? Discuss the reasons that support your decision.

-Students with more technological experience and will assist the group
in creating and embedding the audio into the PowerPoint presentation.
-The teacher will also assist in pairing students with individuals with
whom they will be able to conduct an informative interview.

4 – Student provided relevant and creative slides for the song they were
assigned for their group, which contributed to the overall high quality of the
PowerPoint in its entirety. Student provided detailed, organized, and factual
information for each essay. Responses were very well thought out and
demonstrated thorough knowledge and understanding of the era.
3 – Student provided relevant slides for the song they were assigned for their
group, which contributed to the overall quality of the PowerPoint in its
entirety. Student provided organized and factual information for each essay.
Responses demonstrated knowledge and understanding of the era.
2 – Student provided the sufficient number of slides representing the song
they were assigned for their group, which only contributed slightly to the
quality of the PowerPoint in its entirety. Student provided an organized
essay, however gave little factual information to support their position.
Responses demonstrated a limited knowledge and understanding of the era.
1 – Student failed to provide either the appropriate amount of slides for the
group PowerPoint, or the slides selected did not show relevance to the song
assigned. Student submitted essays that were disorganized and lacked
factual information in order to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of
the era.