SOAR INTO OUTERSPACE!
20th Century Contemporary
The Space Age
The Age of Technology
When I read history I often think, “This seems similar to what’s happening now.” And when I hear Bob Dylan sing, “The times they are a changin’,” I think, “That’s true, too.” History is a collection of stories — our great accomplishments and terrible mistakes. Our shared history is what connects us. For the past year, I have posted 13 history blogs in historical sequence. They are the 13 time periods that create the journey through time I call, “The Magical History Tour.” It’s a hands-on history program for elementary age students. I truly believe that if you teach history in sequence every year from first grade through fifth grade, your students will know the story of us and will be able to tell that story to the next generation.
Here’s a short story from my own history… I’ve always loved music. My first 45* was the Partridge Family hit, “I Think I Love You.” My brother, sister, and I played it over and over and sang the words at the top of our lungs. Our dad finally had enough and threatened to smash the record and the record player. Dad liked music, but he was into Frank Sinatra and Big Band music. Once, on a long family road trip, he let us pick the radio station. My brother chose a rock station. Dad was trying to pretend he was cool with the music, until an instrumental called “Frankenstein” by the Edgar Winters Group was played. Dad had never heard the new techno sounds. He pulled off the road in a panic because he thought his car was falling apart. We started laughing. Dad was furious. That was the end of rock ’n’ roll in his car.
*A 45 was a small record with one song on each side. Oh, a record was a plastic disc you played on a device called a turntable or record player.
TOP 10 THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT THE 20TH CENTURY CONTEMPORARY AGE (1950 to present)
#10 Contemporary Art – Abstract art has no recognizable subject. The artists use shape, line, and color to create a feeling for the viewer. Some abstract artists plan out every detail of their painting (Kandinsky) others use the paint and canvas to express their feelings (Pollack). Pop Art was meant to be fun. Its subjects are commercial products and pop icons (Warhol, Lichtenstein).
#9 The Cold War wasn’t a war of soldiers and weapons. It was a competition of technology and also choosing sides in other country’s conflicts. The democracies of the Western World and the communist countries of Eastern Europe competed with one another until the Soviet Union came to an end in1991.
#8 Space Race – In 1955, the U.S. and Soviet Union both announced they were going to launch a satellite into space. By October 1957, the Russians had success with Sputnik I . Four months later, the U.S. launched Explorer I. In April 1961, the Soviets were the first to orbit the Earth with astronaut Yuri Gagarin aboard Vostok I. Almost a year later, U.S. astronaut John Glenn orbited the Earth in Friendship I. The U.S was determined to put the first man on the moon, so President Kennedy started the Apollo Moon Program. On July 20, 1969, U.S. astronaut Neil Armstrong was the first man to walk on the moon.
#7 The Korean War (1950 to 1953) was a battle between North and South Korea. The U.S. and the United Nations sided with South Korea and its capitalist government. Russia and China sided with North Korea and its communist government. The war ended when a treaty was signed giving each country independence. And to prevent future war, they created a 2 mile demilitarized zone between the countries where no one would be allowed to fight.
#6 The Vietnam War (1954 to 1975) was a battle between Communist North Vietnam (supported by Russia and China) and South Vietnam (supported by the USA). The Vietnam War was fought in jungles and swamps. It was a bloody battle. Many people in the USA protested sending soldiers to fight because the Communists weren’t a threat to the USA. It was the first war in which the USA was on the side that lost. The soldiers who had served the USA felt abandoned by their country.
#5 Civil Rights Movement – The U.S. Constitution declares equal rights to all citizens. In 1954, the Supreme Court ruled in Brown v. Board of Education that segregated schools are unconstitutional. Martin Luther King Jr. was a leader of the African American civil rights movement. In 1963, he organized a peaceful protest, the march on Washington, where he delivered his famous “I Have a Dream” speech. In 1964, President Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act which outlawed discrimination.
#4 Counterculture Movements happen when a large group of people have ideas that are opposite of the mainstream. The Beat Generation was a literary movement that influenced the youth of the 50s and 60s. Their written works inspired a social revolution. People began to question authority. The hippie movement of the 60s and 70s started on college campuses across the USA. The hippies criticized middle class values and war. They embraced caring for the earth.
#3 War on Terror – On September 11, 2001, terrorists hijacked airplanes and crashed them into the Twin Towers in New York City. After the attacks, President George W. Bush declared a worldwide war on terror. The Department of Homeland Security was created to keep the U.S. safe.
#2 The Age of Celebrity – With a television and, later, the internet in almost every home, people became obsessed with the rich and famous. There were people who achieved fame through their talent in music, sports, or acting, but many others were famous for being famous.
#1 Technology – Television, computers, the internet, cell phones, drones, robots, and virtual reality are just a few of the technological advances in the last 60 years. Try to imagine what the future will bring.
I chose the space shuttle craft to represent the Space Age. Click SPACE SHUTTLE CRAFT to get the pattern and instructions for the craft.
Also, you can click to go to the 20th CENTURY CONTEMPORARY for free activities or to purchase the unit.