Students will consider their own weekend activities and chores, and then watch a video about rural family life during the 1940s. They complete a Venn diagram about how life in the 1940s compares to life today, and reflect on what may have been lost in contemporary society.
This lesson is part of "Great States: Iowa | Unit 7: Twentieth Century Iowa." In this unit, students will examine how major events of the 20th century impacted the people of Iowa.
CG.SS.3.11: Provide examples of historical and contemporary ways that societies have changed. (21st century skills)
CG.SS.4.10: Describe how societies have changed in the past and continue to change. (21st century skills)
H.SS.4.25: Analyze the impact of technological changes in Iowa, across time and place.
- Video: Socializing, Traditions and Chores for Rural Farm Families in the 1940s
- An interactive whiteboard, projector, or another type of screen to show videos to the class
- Notebooks or loose-leaf paper
- Social Life and Chores Venn diagrams—one per small group
- In small groups, have students list:
- Their typical weekend activities
- The chores they and their siblings do at home
- The chores their parents or guardians do at home
- The appliances their families use to help with cooking and cleaning
- Explain to students that living in the 1940s was hard work for many rural families in Iowa. In this video, they will learn what life was like for families before many of the technological and cultural changes of the mid-20th century.
- Tell studeats to take notes on the weekend activities, chores for kids, chores for adults and labor-saving devices mentioned as they watch the video, Socializing, Traditions and Chores for Rural Farm Families in the 1940s. [2:02]
- Distribute the Social Life and Chores Venn diagrams and, in small groups, have students fill it in by comparing socializing and chores in the 1940s to those of today.
- Ask students to share with the whole class some of the comparisons that their group made on the Venn diagram.
- To conclude the lesson, remind students that someone in the film describes the 1940s as “the good old days.” Ask students, “What might have been better about living back then in spite of the lack of entertainment options and the burden of many chores?” [Possible answers include: more time to talk to friends and family, homemade food, simpler lifestyle, satisfaction of hard work]