Home and Agents of Social Change - Frances Fox Piven

Piven Lesson Plan

Lesson Topic: Community Building during the Great Society
Grade: Middle School
Class: American History/Government
Approx. Class Time: 2 class periods

Lesson Objective: By analyzing articles from the Mobilization for Youth News Bulletin, the students will identify the ways that students in the 1960s worked to improve their community.

Materials Needed: Mobilization for Youth News Bulletin, Vol.1, No.1 (1963).

Activity: Break the class up into small groups. First, assign each group an article from the collection, asking each group to answer the basic questions of "Who, What, When, Where, and Why?" Then have them put each of their answers on the board in chart form. Have each group summarize their article for the class and, use the chart for discussion.

Discussion Questions:

  • Why were these programs created?

  • Do you think these programs were successful?

  • Are there programs today that remind you of the MFY?

Long Term Activity: Encourage students to volunteer some place in their community for an extended period of time, asking them to (a) create a scrapbook of their experiences to present to the class or (b) have them write articles for their own MFY Bulletin.

Selected Suggested Reading:
David M. Chalmers, And the Crooked Places Made Straight: The Struggle for Social
          Change in the 1960s
(Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1991).

Marshall Kaplan and Peggy L. Cuciti, eds., The Great Society and its Legacy: 20 Years
          of United States Social Politics
(Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1986).

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