Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum

How does music impact culture?
Rachel Wilbanks
US History
Time Frame:
Two days in class (45 minutes each) would be provided to work on the assignment with at least one week before the assignment is due.
Jazz Age
Music History

Grade Levels:

Classroom/Homework Activity to be performed:
  • Technology Based, students will be developing a cd with a compilation of jazz songs that best exemplifies the Jazz Era (1920s-1930s). They will create a cover for the cd, an insert with each song title, its lyrics, justification for why the song was included in the album, and rationale for its placement in the song order.
  • Rationale:
  • I would like my students to consider the historical events during the Jazz Age abstractly this summative assessment would be conducive to this objective. The goal is to have students develop critical thinking skills such as synthesizing as well as comparing and contrasting.
  • District, state, or national performance and knowledge standards/goals/skills met:

    Civics-Government Standard: The student uses a working knowledge and understanding of governmental systems of Kansas and the United States and other nations with an emphasis on the United States Constitution, the necessity for the rule of law, the civic values of the American people, and the rights, privileges, and responsibilities of becoming active participants in our representative democracy.

    • Benchmark 2: The student understands the shared ideals and diversity of American society and political culture.

    Geography: The student uses a working knowledge and understanding of the spatial organization of Earth's surface and relationships between peoples and places and physical and human environments in order to explain the interactions that occur in Kansas, the United States, and in our world.

    • Benchmark 2: Places and Regions: The student analyzes the human and physical features that give places and regions their distinctive character.
    • Benchmark 4: Human Systems: The student understands how economic, political, cultural, and social processes interact to shape patterns of human populations, interdependence, cooperation, and conflict.

    History Standard: The student uses a working knowledge and understanding of significant individuals, groups, ideas, events, eras, and developments in the history of Kansas, the United States, and the world, utilizing essential analytical and research skills.

    • Benchmark 4: The student engages in historical thinking skills.

    Missouri Standards

    2. Continuity and change in the history of Missouri, the United States and the world

    6. Relationships of the individual and groups to institutions and cultural traditions

    7. The use of tools of social science inquiry (such as surveys, statistics, maps, documents) 

    Secondary materials (book, article, video documentary, etc.) needed:
    • Driggs, Frank, and Chuck Haddix. Kansas City Jazz From Ragtime to Bebop - A History. New York: Oxford UP, USA, 2006.
    • Hakim, Joy. War, Peace, and All That Jazz. New York City: Oxford, 1995.
    • Hanson, Erica. The 1920s - A Cultural Hisotry of the United States. San Diego: Lucent Books, 1999.

    Primary materials (book, article, video documentary, etc.) needed:
    • "1920s Jazz Age." Jazz - AllAboutJazz.com. 23 July 2009 1920s Jazz Age>.
    • Jazz Age! 1 Aug. 1998. Emusic. 21 July 2009 E Music Jazz Age>.
    • The Jazz Age-The 20s. Alexandria: Time-Life Books, 1998.
    • "Missouri Valley Special Collections : About." Missouri Valley Special Collections : Home. 23 July 2009 KC History>.
    • Welcome to the Old Time Radio Free Podcast & Download Blog. 2007. Qassia. 21 July 2009 Nostalgic Radio>.

    Technology Required:

    Computer/Internet Access

    Equipment/Software to download and burn music

    Full description of activity or assignment.
    • The role of the student is addressed in the project directions below.
    • The role of the educator during this process will be to introduce the assignment to students and explain the objectives and intended outcomes in detail. The instructor should also provide students with a launching point of reliable and valid resources as well as offer suggestions for students to locate information on their own. At this point it is the instructor's responsibility to serve as a coach for the students. Coaching should include: answering questions, challenging their thought process, offering thoughtful suggestions as well as conferencing with each student on a one-on-one basis during the project to ensure the students are achieving the intended outcomes. During the conference, the teacher should provide specific feedback about each aspect of the assignment using the rubric to guide the discussion.

    The Jazz Era Name:____________________________

    Creating a CD Hour:_________Date:______________

    The 1920s and 1930s provided a unique gift to American culture: the creation and development of jazz. This new music developed changes in culture while also reflecting the events of the time. It is your job to create a cd that represents the culture (and its changes) during this time.


    It is your job to create a cd (complete with music and case) to accurately represent the jazz age in Kansas City (think 1920s-1930s). You will be provided with two days in class to locate songs and as well as justification for each song. You must also design the front and back cover and they should provide a visual that you've created that symbolizes the time. You are given two weeks to complete this assignment before it's due so be sure to be working hard on your own time to get this work done! Good luck!

    Full explanation of the assessment method and/or scoring guide:



    _____/16 The cd has at least 8 songs from the jazz age for listeners to enjoy (1 point for listing the song, 1 point for having the audio properly downloaded onto the cd).

    ____/16 The student justifies why the song is representative of the jazz age and provides at least two historical facts to back up their justification for the relevance of the song (1 point for justifying the relevance and � point per fact used to supplement your argument).

    ____/8 Lyrics are provided for each song as well as the composer and performer (1 point per song).

    Album Cover:

    ____/1 The title of the cd is provided on the front cover

    ____/2 The graphics on the front cover relate the time period and the music on the cd.

    ____/1 The songs on the cd are listed on the back cover.

    ____/3 The graphics on the back cover relate to the time period, the music on the cd, and is not a duplication of the image on the front cover.

    ____/3 All graphics are neat, organized, and add to the cd. It is evident that the creator spent a good deal of time creating quality work.