Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum

Jazz, An American Original
Liz Wilson
Gen. Education 101
Time Frame:
One Semester
Music History
Jazz Age
African-American History
Kansas City History
Missouri History

Classroom/Homework Activity to be performed:

Cooperative Learning Assignment-Group Presentation and Paper


  To have students gain an appreciation for Jazz, both musically and historically, and for the contributions of African-Americans to this genre in America, focusing on the significance of Kansas City.  

District, state, or national performance and knowledge standards/goals/skills met:

Missouri State Standards

Knowledge Standards: Social Studies

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

Performance Goals:

2.1 plan and make written, oral and visual presentations for a variety of purposes and audiences

2.4 present perceptions and ideas regarding works of the arts, humanities and sciences

4.6 identify tasks that require a coordinated effort and work with others to complete those tasks

Kansas State Standards

5.1.12 (A) The student interprets how the arts, music, and literature reflected social change during the Jazz Age (e.g., Harlem Renaissance, F. Scott Fitzgerald, development of blues and jazz culture).

Secondary materials (book, article, video documentary, etc.) needed:
  • Black Heritage in Missouri, Antonio Holland and Gary Kremer
  • Going to Kansas City, Nathan Pearson, 1987
  • Jazz & poetry in Page Library video, 2007-9, Dr. Larry Ross & Liz Wilson

Primary materials (book, article, video documentary, etc.) needed:
  • "The Duke Ellington Reader", 1993
  • "Jazz Portraits; life and music of jazz masters" Leonard Lyles, 1989
  • Page library presents "Dr. Dina Bennett, Jazz historian American jazz museum KCMO. 2008 Video

Technology Required:

Computer and Internet Access

Projector and Screen

Full description of activity or assignment.
  • Students will present a multi-media presentation on "jazz music, an American original"
  • Students will be divided into groups 5.
  • Students will listen to jazz music of a famous jazz musicians approved by GE101 teacher.
  • Students will do a 15 minute powerpoint presentation, YouTube presentation, Facebook presentation or do a video presentation of their project after 8 weeks.
  • Students will write a group paper using information from the resources they used for their presentation. The paper will be at least 5 pages of single spaced entries.
  • Student will earn 100 point for the presentation
  • Each student must indicate they did contribute to the project and show evidence of their work.
  • Full explanation of the assessment method and/or scoring guide:
    • Students and teachers will assess the project and presentation using a sheet prepared by the teacher.
    • 25 points for clarity; Can I understand why the project is teaching us?
    • 25 points Use of innovative technology; what technology was used?
    • 25 points accuracy; Are all the facts accurate?
    • 25 points collaboration; What did each member do for the project?