Newspapers and social changes in the 1960's


Newspapers and social changes in the 1960's



Washington State Library, Office of the Secretary of State



Grade Levels


In this focused inquiry, students investigate the question How does the news you get differ because of who writes it and where you live?

Students engage in deep reading of primary, annotation of sources, small and large group discussions, question and inquiry development, research, and develop an argument about how the news you get differs because of who writes it and where you live.

Lesson Objectives

  • Students will be able to use analytical reading skill to identify the main ideas in the Fed Up article and in their independently researched article.
  • Students will collaborate with peers to understand how different perspectives influence historical events.
  • Students will develop a claim with evidence and reasoning to answer the compelling question.
  • Students will develop a critique of historical articles that include information about the author, publication and/or audience of the article.



Common Core English Language Arts Standards, History/Social Studies College, Career, and Civic Life Framework
(See C3 Framework to adjust to the grade level of the audience of this lesson)
  • D2.His.3.6-8.  Use questions generated about individuals and groups to analyze why they, and the developments they shaped, are seen as historically significant.
  • D2.His.6.6-8.  Analyze how people’s perspectives influenced what information is available in the historical sources they created.


Focused Inquiry

Staging the Question

Compelling Question:
How does the news you get differ because of who writes it and where you live?

Have the students listen to “Ohio” by Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young. Students should engage in a song analysis. Ask the students the following questions:
    • What names or places are in the song?
    • What details are included in the lyrics?
    • What do you notice about the music?
    • What is the purpose of the music and lyrics?
    • What questions does this song make you ask?
  • Students should compare the information that they gain from the song with information that they get from their textbook or other readings that are appropriate for the students.
  • Students should share their analysis and comparison in small and/or large group discussion. This could look like a Socratic Seminar or other example of civil discourse.
  • At the end of the discussion students should make an initial prediction that answers the compelling question.
Background to share with the students:
Students should have an understanding of the major political and social issues that were happening in the United States and Washington in the 1960’s.

Formative Performance Task

Supporting Question:
How did newspapers and other media outlets in Washington state respond to the political and social unrest of the 1960’s?
  • Individuals read and annotate the contextualization and newspaper story “Justice?” in the alternative newspaper Fed Up.
  • After annotating, students should share their annotations with a partner and add any new ideas.
Taking Informed Action

Once students have an understanding of the “Justice?” article they should use the Washington State Library to research how other newspapers and/ or people responded to the political and social unrest of the 1960’s. One way to complete the research process is to:
    • Determine what questions and information is needed to answer the supporting and compelling question
    • Find, select, and evaluate sources that will answer the question (the evaluation should include who wrote it, who is involved, and where the source is from)
    • Extract notes and organize your information
    • Complete a response that has a claim, evidence, and reasoning
    • Reflect and revise as needed
  • Find a contemporary article about social and/ or political issues from a media outlet in Washington state. Make a brief review that identifies the bias of author, publication, and/or audience. Infer what the root cause of the bias is.
Newspapers and Social Changes in the 1960's Lesson Plan.pdf
Justice (1).pdf