Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Whose City Is It?

published on: 6/21/2004

Contributing Teacher(s): Jay Buck

Subject Area: Social Studies/World History

Grade Range: High School (9-12)

Materials Needed:

  • Computers with Internet access
  • Microsoft PowerPoint software


  • Learn to utilize the Virtual City - St. Louis Web site (http://www.umsl.edu/~virtualstl/phase2/).
  • Show the ability to utilize Microsoft PowerPoint to prepare a PowerPoint presentation.
  • Identify the complex social, economic, and political issues facing St. Louis in the 1950s.
  • Be able to understand the themes of progress and the American Dream.

Process Standards:

  • Goal 1.1 develop questions and ideas to initiate and refine research
  • Goal 1.2 conduct research to answer questions and evaluate information and ideas

Content Standards:

  • Social Studies 2. Continuity and change in the history of Missouri, the United States and the world
  • Social Studies 7. The use of tools of social science inquiry (such as surveys, statistics, maps, documents)

    Time Allowance: Three hours in computer lab for research and preparation. One hour for presentation

    Description: Students learn to utilize the Virtual City - St. Louis WebSite. -- WebQuest, PowerPoint, American Dream

    Classroom Component:



    This project challenges the student to investigate two themes, progress and the American Dream. Here are some essential questions for you to consider:
    • What is progress? What is "the American Dream"?
    • Are progress and the American Dream the same for all Americans?
    • Is the American Dream a myth?
    • How has our concept of progress and the American Dream changed over time?
    • Why do some individuals and groups realize their dreams, while others' dreams remain unfulfilled?
    The following is a group assignment. Each group will be assigned a particular role. Students will utilize Microsoft PowerPoint to present their findings. Each presentation should include between 20 and 25 slides.

    Teacher Instructions:
    1. Provide background information on the decade of the 1950s.
    2. Introduce the St. Louis Virtual City Web site to the students.
    3. Make certain that students are familiar with PowerPoint presentations.
    4. Prepare a rubric, then distribute lesson plan and assign members to groups.
    5. Provide ample time in computer lab for assignment. (Some work may also be done at home)

    Group One: Members of Civic Progress

    In the 1950s, the city of St. Louis was faced with many challenges. Two of the problems mentioned in the Virtual City St. Louis Web site were:
    1. the city of St. Louis was losing population and business to outlying suburbs.
    2. an outdated physical infrastructure that indicated that the city was experiencing serious signs of decay.
    To address these and other problems, the editors of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch ran a series of articles entitled, Progress or Decay? In the opinion of the newspaper's editors, the key to success lay in promoting awareness of the city's problems and persuading lawmakers to adopt the right policies. The choice between progress and decay was one that St. Louisans had to make for themselves.

    Your group's presentation should take the form of a TV infomercial. (Yes, they had TV back in the 1950s, although it was in black and white) Your infomercial should address the following issues:
    1. What are some specific problems facing downtown St. Louis?
    2. What strategies does Civic Progress endorse for dealing with these problems?
    3. What is your vision for St. Louis in the future? Does your vision include all St. Louisans?
    Group Two: Chinese Americans

    In the 1950s, there was a small Chinatown known as Hop Alley in downtown St. Louis. Your group will present a description of that community through the eyes of a fictional Chinese American citizen. In your presentation be sure to address the following questions:
    1. How did the residents of Hop Alley try to achieve the American Dream?
    2. What obstacles did Chinese Americans face living in St. Louis?
    3. In what ways did Hop Alley try to carry on Chinese traditions?
    4. How were the experiences of first generation Chinese different from second generation?
    5. What happened to Hop Alley?
    Group Three: African Americans

    The decade of the 1950s was one of an awakening of sorts for African Americans in the United States. The battle for civil rights was being fought on a national as well as a local level. The African American community in St. Louis was involved in this struggle. Your group is to prepare a report for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People on St. Louis's African American community. Your report will focus on the social, economic, and political conditions facing African Americans in the city of St. Louis. Make sure to explore the Web site to find examples where discrimination and injustice occurred. Include in your report a "blueprint" for community action to overcome and rectify these conditions.

    Group Four: Women

    During World War II, many women had entered the workforce for the first time as replacements for men who were serving in the Armed Forces. With the war over, many in American society expected women to return to a more traditional role. Your group will take the role of a typical married woman in the 1950s. Make sure to focus on the following questions in your report:
    1. What were some of society's expectations for women in the 1950s?
    2. Describe daily life for St. Louis women.
    3. Describe employment opportunities for women.
    4. What did the future hold for you and your family?
    5. Were women realizing their dreams?
    Group Five: Journalist

    This group will take the role of a journalist working for a leading travel agency. Your group will prepare a travel guide on St. Louis. Your guide is intended for prospective tourists both within the United States and around the world. You are to explore what St. Louis has to offer as well as its drawbacks. You are to report on potential tourist attractions such as entertainment, shopping, and local points of interest. You should also prepare to inform the tourist about any problems they might incur while visiting St. Louis. Traffic and crime problems might top your list. Discuss the future of the city of St. Louis as well. Remember, you are writing a guide to prospective tourists, so you want your guide to be informative, while also providing a positive description of St. Louis.

    VCSTL - Whose City is It?






    Content -

    All content throughout the presentation is accurate. There are no factual errors. Most of the content is accurate but there is one piece of information that might be inaccurate. The content is generally accurate, but one piece of information is clearly flawed or inaccurate. Content is typically confusing or contains more than one factual error.

    Sequencing of Information

    Information is organized in a clear, logical way. It is easy to anticipate the type of material that might be on the next card. Most information is organized in a clear, logical way. One card or item of information seems out of place. Some information is logically sequenced. An occasional card or item of information seems out of place. There is no clear plan for the organization of information.


    For additional information contact :
    Jay Buck
    Lafayette Sr. High
    Rockwood R-VI
    (636) 458-7200

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