Modern/Cold War (1953-80)

For the month of may we will be focusing on modern history through the Cold War from 1953-1980. This will incorporate the space race, Vietnam War, Kennedy Assassination, the Civil Rights movement and the building of the interstate system.

One of the things that I look forward to most with this more modern history is the availability of firsthand accounts. We are able to talk to people who served in Vietnam, people who were a part of the civil rights movement. Though we do not know anyone that worked with NASA we do know people that remember the build up and watching that first shuttle launch. My children have grandparents that can tell you where they were when Kennedy was assassinated and friends and neighbors that serves in Vietnam. This personal connection helps make history more meaningful to the children.

Based on our schedule we are going to first cover the interstate system and the Vietnam War. We have been studying Vietnam on the side because of Heroes Next Door so for us this will be the culmination of those studies. We have a bit of traveling to do this month so the children can get real world experience with the interstates.


Then we are going to cover the Civil Rights movement and the Kennedy Assassination. There are some excellent books that talk about the Civil Rights Movement as well as an exhibit at the North Carolina History Museum. In this month’s resources there are some great YouTube videos from this period that include recordings of speeches and news coverage.

We will follow that up with a week of Space Exploration.This is always an exciting topic for the children to explore. Matthew has been reading Heroes of History: Alan Shepard that is a great biography to include in this study. There are fun science experiments that can be done to better understand space and some additional YouTube videos of news coverage. For a bit of fun you can watch these videos of children’s books being read aloud in space.

We will close out the month with a study of the Cold War. This can be a difficult concept for children but we are going to use The Butter Battle Book by Dr. Seuss to introduce the concept. My son is very interested in spies so we are going to also include some books like The CIA and Other American Spies. I plan to use lots of pages from our NotebookingPages subscription to help them share and organize what they are learning.

For field trips we are planning on the North Carolina History Museum and the Eisenhower Historic Site. We will also do virtual tours of a fall out shelter and NASA. We will round out the month with some Astronaut Ice Cream and maybe a trip to Chick-fil-a which first opened during this time period. There are many other great movies, books, and television shows that I’ve included in this month’s resource list. Let us know how you plan to study this era in history!

When you sign up for the Schoolin’ Swag free resource library you will get a link and password to the library, we are adding to the library each month with new items. You will also get a bi-weekly newsletter email to keep you up to date on what we have going on.

Resource Library

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