Teacher Materials

Teacher Materials


How U.S. Society Changed During the
1920s, as Reflected in the Life of
Margaret Mead

Teacher Materials

Mary Bowman-Kruhm, Ed.D.
Student materials for a unit that incorporates differentiated instruction using
research-based instructional strategies and a variety of materials and is based on:

Bowman-Kruhm, M. (2003). Margaret Mead: A Biography. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press.

© 2003

Permission is given for individual teachers and instructors to reproduce the material in this unit for use in their classrooms; use for other purposes is forbidden without permission from the author.


Unit, Instructional Guide
Rationale, Description of Strategies, and Overview of Activities

Unit Scenario

Identified Standards, Objectives, and Learning Outcomes

Materials and Resources

Strategies Used


Assessment/Culminating Activity


Lesson Plan, Activity 6 of Unit

Rubric, Paragraph

Margaret Mead Puzzle Answer Sheet

Unit Plan

How U.S. Society Changed During the 1920s, as
Reflected in the Life of Margaret Mead

Rationale, Description of Strategies, and
Overview of Activities

Title of Unit
How U.S. Society Changed During the 1920s, as Reflected in the Life of Margaret Mead
Secondary Students
Approximately 15 classroom hours


Unit Scenario
(Problem to be Solved in italics)

This unit is designed for a secondary United States history mixed-ability class or, with slight modifications, for a high school or community college basic anthropology class. It builds on research-validated strategies and cooperative learning techniques to help students understand and interpret the changes in society in the United States during the 1920s. It specifically focuses on the teen years and early career of anthropologist Margaret Mead, as she struggled to resolve family issues so that she could attend college and to then overcome discrimination against married women in the work place.

A knowledge base is developed with KWL-Plus and Readers Theater. Differentiation and accommodations are then carried out through a Study Guide, writing, and other activities.



Identified Standards, Objectives, and Learning Outcomes

Based on Standards, Maryland State Dept. of Education Objectives Learning Outcomes
Reading Comprehension
Comprehension and interpretation of informational text.
1. Synthesize the content and ideas from several sources dealing with a single issue or written by a single author, producing evidence of comprehension by clarifying the ideas and connecting them to other sources, related topics, or prior experience
2. Extend ideas presented in primary or secondary sources through original analysis, evaluation, and elaboration
3. Analyze an author’s implicit and explicit philosophical assumptions and beliefs about a subject.
Students will be able to evaluate the impact and significance of the women’s movement in the 1920s by synthesizing information from a variety of sources.

Students will be able to understand the societal changes of the 1920s by locating information about the anthropologist Margaret Mead and using that information to generalize about the role the women’s movement played in her life.

Vocabulary Development
Acquisition and application of new vocabulary
Identify the connotation and denotation of new words and apply them in writing and speaking. Students will be able to use word identification skills to read words specific to the unit and will discern the meanings of these words.

Students will be able to use new vocabulary words appropriately in writing and speaking.

Reading Fluency
Automaticity in reading to self and others
Read silently and aloud to enhance textual understanding by self and, when reading orally, by others. Students will be able to read prose and poetry
1)silently and aloud with fluency, rhythm, and pace;
2)aloud with appropriate intonation and vocal patterns to emphasize key ideas and areas of importance expressed by the author.
Retrieval and communication of information.
1. Retrieve information from both traditional and technological sources.
2. Identify and use standard English language conventions correctly to communicate in writing.
Students will be able to communicate information clearly in speaking and writing by correctly applying conventions of English, including:
1)sentence structure
Communication while working in teams.
Effectively communicate in a variety of situations, with different audiences, purposes, and formats. Students will be able to apply communication strategies that build a positive community of learners by:
1)Communicating with team members to set a positive tone.
2)Applying conflict resolution strategies to handle disputes between team members.
3)Providing maximum opportunity for individual student academic achievement through team participation.
U.S. History
Analysis of the major political, social, economic, technological, and cultural developments of the 1920s and 1930s.
Evaluate the manifestations of prejudice and discrimination on individuals and groups. Students will be able to explain the rise of the women’s movement and its significance in the 1920s for American women; the passage of the 19th amendment, and the struggles of the leaders.


Materials and Resources

Copies of the following materials found in Student Materials I and II:

  • Readers Theater scripts, Father Doesn’t Always Know Best and From Indiana to Oceania
  • Study Guide, How U.S. Society Changed during the 1920s, as Reflected in the Life of Margaret Mead
  • Graphic organizers, Key Concepts: Margaret Mead’s Early Years, Key Concepts: The U.S. in the 1920s, and Collecting Your Thoughts
  • Margaret Mead Puzzle
  • Did the Team Work? (optional)

The following are also needed:

  • Chart paper, markers, and blank overhead transparency film
  • Internet access to electronic resources listed below
  • Copies of print resources (or similar) listed below

Print Resources for Students
The books listed below are representative of trade and textbooks that discuss U.S. fashion, manners, habits, and various societal changes during the 1920s. Other books that convey this historical information may be used.

Allen, F. L. (2000). Only yesterday. New York: Harper. (Earlier editions may be used.)

Blocksma, M., & Dennen, S. (1993). Ticket to the twenties. New York: Little, Brown and Co.

Cairns, T. (1984). The twentieth century. Minneapolis, MN: Lerner.

Jennings, P., & Brewster, T. (1999). The century for young people. New York: Doubleday.

Unstead. R. J. (1982). The twenties: An illustrated history in colour, 1919-1929. London: Macdonald Educational Ltd.

The following biographies (with appropriate chapters in parentheses) and Mead’s autobiography can be found in numerous libraries and provide information at several different reading levels about Mead’s life during the 1920s. Bowman-Kruhm, M. (2003). Margaret Mead: A biography. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press. (Chapters 1 and 2; 12th grade reading level)

Mark, J. (1999). Margaret Mead: Coming of age in America. New York: Oxford University Press. (Chapter 1; high 9th grade reading level)

Mead, M. (1972). Blackberry winter: My earlier years. New York: Pocket Books. (Prologue and Part One; 9th grade reading level)

Saunders, S. (1987). Margaret Mead: The world was her family. New York: Viking Kestrel. (Chapters 1-3 and chapter 4, pp. 22-24; high 7th grade reading level)

Ziesk, E. (1990). Margaret Mead: Anthropologist. New York: Chelsea House. (Chapters 2-3; 12th grade reading level)

Electronic Resources
http://memory.loc.gov/mss/mcc/037/0001.jpg. Library of Congress. Margaret Mead: Letter to Martha Ramsay Mead, December 7, 1923. American Memory: Historical Collections of the National Digital Library. Manuscript Division–Selected Highlights. Women’s History. Mead, M.
http://school.discovery.com/schooladventures/womenofthecentury/decadebydecade/1910s.html and http://school.discovery.com/schooladventures/womenofthecentury/decadebydecade/1920s.html. Mead is described as one of 50 important women in the 20th century. The web pages overviewing the decades 1910-1920 provide a brief glance of world events and the life of women in that time period.

http://web.bryant.edu/~history/h497/prof_wmn/1920s.htm. Describes role of women in the flapper era.

http://www.msad54.k12.me.us/MSAD54Pages/skow/CurrProjects/1920s/1920HK/women.html. Good material but not visually easy to read.

http://www.history.ohio-state.edu/projects/clash/NewWoman/workeducationreform-page1.htm. Explores the roles of women in the work force and in college during the 1920s and discusses trends that are relevant to the present-day role of women in U.S. society.

http://www.din-timelines.com. Timelines that give only a brief sentence about each event, important or trivial, but provide links to other sites. Mead is, oddly, not mentioned but the extensive lists provide an overview of 1920s people and events.


Strategies Used

The following strategies are used in carrying out this unit:

  • Cooperative Learning
  • Text Summarization
  • KWL-Plus
  • Study Guide
  • Readers Theater (RT)
  • Every Student Response (ESR, also known as Every Pupil Response, or EPR)

Cooperative Learning
Individualizing instruction is not doable, but differentiating, or customizing, instruction by cooperative work groups is. Depending on prior experience with cooperative learning, you may want to add activities that facilitate learning through cooperation and collaboration, since your role in this unit will be that of facilitator or guide rather than purveyor of information.

The teacher also needs to recognize that most groups go through four stages in group development:

    1. Forming: Struggling by each class member to establish place in group during initial period.
    2. Storming: Emergence of leadership & group norms.
    3. Norming: Development of individual & group goals.
    4. Performing: Productive academic work.

This process is often repeated when groups are reorganized. To minimize recurring difficulties in the reorganization process, teach group skills through discussions and decision-making activities; e.g., solicit four volunteers to form a discussion group, have rest of class, using observation sheet, observe discussion of a problem that is real to the class.

Grouping can be on one of numerous bases: social relationships, interest, similar or complementary ability, tutorial assistance, etc. Flexible grouping based on current purpose and needs is desirable, not continuing groups established at beginning of year. Because this unit requires multiple copies of materials with levels from easy to difficult and content that may not be familiar to some students, mixed-ability grouping is recommended.

To assess student perceptions of the work their team members contributed, a rating form, Did the Team Work?, is included with materials.

Text Summarization
You may also want to spend time discussing text summarization before embarking on this unit. According to the Handbook of Reading Research, Vol. III, “Writer-based summaries are external products that students create for themselves in order to reduce and organize information for their subsequent study and review (p. 655).” Cooperative grouping provides a non-threatening, non-evaluative environment in which students can practice this very needed skill with support from fellow team members and assistance from you.

See http://curry.edschool.virginia.edu/go/readquest/strat/summarize.html for information on summarizing text.

A teacher-proven strategy used in this unit is KWL-Plus. The KWL technique has been used for many years to gather information about what students Know, what they Want to know and what they Learn. The use of graphic organizers to connect details is the addition of Plus and is a valuable tool for students, especially secondary students with learning disabilities. In the Plus phase, students, with the use of a graphic organizer and similar visual diagramming activities, link specific details contained in a reading.
Adding the Plus provides an additional dimension that encourages scaffolding of information and develops metacognition. Bailey (2002) wrote:

  • Accessing prior knowledge and engaging student interest before beginning a reading activity can improve students’ ability to make associations, clarify understanding, and increase comprehension. The KWL-Plus strategy, through teacher lead activities, offers a framework for students to monitor their understanding during reading, and reflect after reading through listing, mapping and summarizing what was learned. The ‘plus’ in the KWL-Plus strategy provides a bridge between reading, comprehension and beginning writing. The various diagramming and mapping activities provide the student with a tool to organize their thoughts about what they have read (pp. 1-2).
See http://curry.edschool.virginia.edu/go/readquest/strat/graphic.html for additional information on graphic organizers.

Study Guides
Guides can facilitate students’ learning content material but will be mere paper-shuffling and busy work if they are distributed as just another work sheet. Guides, however, are not a panacea. They are but one method of customizing instruction. Here are some “guidelines”:
Guide Lines to Using Guides

  • As teacher, be a listener, participant, and resource person.
  • Guides should be part of an overall unit plan that involves pre- and post-reading activities geared to the particular students in the class.
  • In a group setting:
    • Guides should be used to help students read and understand selected material. Some sections can be designated for certain students to complete, some parts eliminated for other students.
    • The goal is to learn and team members are encouraged to help each other, not by giving answers and copying papers, but by assistance and discussion of answers to arrive at group consensus.

Readers Theater
This unit uses a Readers Theater strategy to provide basic content reinforcement in another modality. Readers Theater (RT) is a radio-type script. Content is learned through repetitive readings that also encourage fluency. A Readers Theater script can be adapted to suit the needs and skill level of any classroom. The two RT in this unit have overall 6.7 and 8.0 readability levels as determined by the Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level formula, but the parts read by the Narrators are more difficult and several parts require minimal reading, as is typical of RT scripts. In other words, everyone can participate and benefit, according to his or her ability level.

Value of Readers Theater

  • To enhance students’ appreciation of literature.
  • To promote reading & listening skills.
  • To develop a knowledge base when used in content classes.

Why it works

  • Students are motivated.
  • Students must attend to script.
  • Giving characterization to lines encourages reading with expression.

Anticipated results include improvement in:

  • Fluency
  • Comprehension
  • Word identification
  • Miscue quality
  • Enjoyment of reading
  • Concept of themselves as readers through repeated readings

Every Student Response
ESR is a quick method for evaluating class understanding of information. Responses can be made by:

  • Thumbs up (true), thumbs down (false),
  • Holding up 3×5 cards with T and F printed in large block letters,
  • Holding up dry erase boards with the answer printed in large letters.

Obviously the first two offer only the possibility of true-false answers, but the teacher can still quickly and easily assess understanding and modify instruction. Questions in this unit are true-false and are intended both to check literal meaning and to encourage thoughtful answers.


1. Explain the method of response wanted.
2. Tell students:

  • I will read the question.
  • Do not respond until I say, “1, 2, 3, respond.”

3. Read the question and give direction to respond.
4. Mentally note those students whose response is incorrect.
5. Review the material or modify instruction, if necessary.



Activities are suggestions only and can be modified, depending on students and time constraints, and can be developed into daily or multiple-day lesson plans.

Activity 1 (Whole Group and Teams)
  1. Organize the class into groups of 3-4 students, with reading ability varied among each group. Allow time for each group to select a team name and agree on individual responsibilities within the group: Chairperson, Recorder (produces final copy of written work, whether by hand or computer), Equipment Manager (handles all materials and supplies, searches for information on computer), Time Manager (reminds group about time). The last two can be combined.
  2. Assign each group to brainstorm, as a team, sports and other activities outside school in which females in the class can participate. Note that they may choose not to do so, but are able to do so if they wish. Note time that they have to complete group brainstorming.
  3. As a whole group, rotate among groups, with each group volunteering one activity. Because this is brainstorming, record but do not discuss any activity named.
  4. Pose the question, “Which of these do you think were enjoyed by your great-grandmothers?” Check off those that they name.

Activity 2 (Whole Group, Individual)

  1. Develop a KWL chart, preferably on chart paper, to introduce the topic of the growth of the women’s movement after World War I. Post the chart in a prominent place where you can refer to it as the unit continues. (Alternatively, use an overhead and copy it for members of the class to refer to later.] If the class is unresponsive, as them what they think they know from reading books, watching old movies and television shows, and talking with relatives who are senior citizens.
  2. Homework: Talk with an older adult about the growth in the women’s movement. Specify if a male or female was interviewed and his or her age. Make a list or write a paragraph about this interview.
  3. During the next class session, discuss the homework and add to the K-W-L chart.

Activity 3 (Teams, Whole Group)

  1. Distribute Readers Theater scripts, Father Doesn’t Always Know Best (6.7 reading level) and From Indiana to Oceania (8.0 reading level), that accompany this unit.
  2. Each team determines roles; alternatively, you may assign them. Several teams can be combined.
  3. Teams practice parts.
  4. Each team dramatizes their script for the rest of the class.
  5. Discuss the process in preparing for the RT presentations (i.e., team building).
  6. Use ESR to evaluate their understanding of the content. Ask the following true-false questions:
    • Margaret Mead was born in 1899. (False)
    • Margaret Mead’s father, Edward, valued education for women. (True)
    • Emily Mead, Margaret’s mother, was lazy and relied on Margaret and Martha Meade, her mother-in-law to take care of the house. (False)
    • Before she went to college, Margaret grew up in Pennsylvania. (True)
    • Women did not receive the same pay as men during the 1920s because the jobs men held often weren’t open to women. (True)
  7. After surveying the class’s responses, discuss each answer and ask volunteers to confirm the correct answer by reading the appropriate part or parts of the script.
  8. Refer to the KWL-Plus chart to discuss content: What else did they learn about Mead’s life and the role in life of most women in the 1920s?
  9. If possible, refer to web sites (some sources listed under electronic resources) that corroborate the information in the scripts.

Activity 4 or Homework (Whole Group, Individual, or Team)
Assign Margaret Mead Puzzle.

Activity 5 (Whole Group, Individual, Teams)

  1. Use an overhead transparency with the vocabulary words that appear on the first page of the study guide. Elicit meanings from the students and ask for sentences in which each word is used. Students whose books have a glossary or who have dictionaries can act as Information Consultants. Encourage students to take notes.
  2. Distribute resource materials so that each group has access to electronic and print resources related to the 1920s and Margaret Mead’s life. Also distribute the Study Guide, How U.S. Society Changed during the 1920s, as Reflected in the Life of Margaret Mead.
  3. Preview the guide.
  4. Using their texts and electronic resource materials, assign students to read sections about the 1920s or about Margaret Mead’s childhood and college experiences.
  5. Have students respond to the guide by working in their teams; teacher circulates to provide guidance.
  6. Since each group has access to different resources, discuss each area of guide and provide feedback by whole group discussion.
  7. Allow each group to reconvene and, based on discussion, revise their study guides.
  8. Collect one copy of the guide from each group (optional).
  9. Distribute and collect Did the Team Work? if you wish to have student feedback about individual contributions to their team (optional).

Activity 6 (Individual, Team, or Whole Group)

  1. Distribute the graphic organizer, Collecting Your Thoughts. This organizer provides a format to help students write on the topic, “Why Margaret Mead Became Famous.”
  2. The help you provide the students during this assignment depends on the ability of students to synthesize and evaluate information and develop a paragraph or paper. You may want to assign development of a class or team paragraph or, rather than having students write their own topic sentences, to provide topic sentences, such as:
    • There were a number of different reasons Margaret Mead became famous during her lifetime.
      -OR –
    • Margaret Mead became famous during her lifetime primarily because of help from her friends and family.
  3. Papers may be shared with class or used for individual student evaluation.
  4. In sharing, you may want to categorize reasons and ask students to analyze whether they listed primarily personal characteristics, such as drive and ambition, help from another person, change in U.S. society, or other reasons.
  5. Ask: What do they feel is crucial for becoming famous? What do they feel is the difference between success and fame?
    Note: A complete 3-day lesson plan for this activity begins on page 13.

Assessment/Culminating Activity

  1. Review the KWL chart.
  2. Ask students to focus on Learn. Of the items listed, what did they learn? What did they learn that they can add to the list?
  3. Assign the class to individually complete a web on one of two topics: Key Concepts: Margaret Mead’s Early Years or Key Concepts: The U.S. in the 1920s.
  4. Assign the writing of a paper based on ideas in their web, no more than one page.



Bailey, D. W. (2002). KWL-Plus. Unpublished manuscript, Johns Hopkins University, School of Professional Studies in Business and Education, Baltimore.
Burrello, L. C., Lashley, C., & Beatty, E. E. (2001). Educating all students together: How school leaders create unified systems. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin.
Glatthorn, A. A. (1994). Developing a quality curriculum. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.
Kamil, M. L., Mosenthal, P. B., Pearson, P. D., & Barr, R. (Eds.). (2000). Handbook of reading research, vol. III. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
Mainzer, L. H., Lowry, A. E., Mainzer, R. W., Nunn, J. A., & Baltzley, P. C. (1997). Teamview: A productivity tool for building high performance student teams. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University, Center for Technology in Education.
Mainzer, R., Mainzer, L., Lowry, B., Baltzley, P. & Nunn, J. (1996). The cooperative collaborative process: The fundamentals. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University.
Scherer, M. M. (Ed.). (2000, September). Education leadership: How to differentiate instruction. Journal of the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, 58(1).
Tomlinson, C. A. (1999). The differentiated classroom: Responding to the needs of all learners. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

Thanks to Dana Bailey and Lisa Sessa, Montgomery County, MD, Public Schools, for their help.


Lesson Plan

How U.S. Society Changed During the 1920’s, as Reflected in the Life of Margaret Mead

National, State and/or Local Standard or Curriculum objective from which this lesson is derived:
Communication-Retrieval and communication of information.

Date or Time Frame:
Approximately 3 days

Students’ Present Levels of Performance:
Quality of writing:
Ability to handle conventions of English, especially transitional expressions and needed commas:

Goal(s) and Instructional Objectives:
Goal: Given direction in writing a paragraph, students will identify and use standard English language conventions correctly to communicate in writing.

  • Students will be able to communicate information clearly in speaking and writing by correctly applying conventions of English, including:
    • sentence structure
    • punctuation
    • grammar
    • usage
  • · Students will be able to work cooperatively to synthesize information gained about women in the 1920’s and evaluate why Mead broke from the conventional role played by women in 1920’s society.
Instructional and management strategies to be used:
Because cooperative learning has been shown by research to be successful with all levels of students, they will work cooperatively to organize and develop a paragraph. After an initial brainstorming and discussion period, students will then individually complete writing of the paragraph. This will allow the teacher to evaluate both content gained and need to work on English conventions with small groups next week.
Homework Assignment:
Materials Needed:
  • OH transparency Graphic organizer, Collecting Your Thoughts
  • Student copies, Collecting Your Thoughts, with directions for writing paragraph
  • Blank transparencies


Day One

  1. (15 min.) Review function of a topic sentence. Use example: If we were writing paragraph with reasons Baltimore Orioles won last Sunday’s game, what could our topic sentence be?
  2. (5 min.) What would we say to support topic sentence? List several reasons on overhead.
  3. (5 min.) What could our concluding sentence be?
  4. Distribute the graphic organizer, Collecting Your Thoughts. This organizer provides a format to help students write on the topic, “Why Margaret Mead Became Famous.”
  5. 5 min.) Discuss possible topic sentences:
    There were a number of different reasons Margaret Mead became famous during her lifetime.
    – OR – Margaret Mead became famous during her lifetime primarily because of help from her friends and family.
    – OR – ???
  6. (20 min.) Break into teams and discuss how each will complete topic sentence, reasons, and conclusion on graphic organizer.
  7. (5 min.) Wrap up. What did we do today?

Day Two

  1. (10 min.) Review where each was at end of yesterday. Thumbs up if ready to write own . Share several topic sentences, reasons, and conclusions.
  2. (40 min.) Individually write own paragraph. Students with writing on IEPs write 2 reasons or use library computer.
  3. Collect paragraphs at end of period.

Day Three

  1. (20 min.) Return paragraphs; share by categorizing reasons. Ask students to analyze whether they listed primarily personal characteristics, such as drive and ambition, help from another person, change in U.S. society, or other reasons.
  2. (10 min.) Ask: What do they feel is crucial for becoming famous? What do they feel is the difference between success and fame?

Wrap-up or culminating activity:
Allow students who finished paragraph to read or work on other assignments.

Criteria for Assessment of Student Performance:
See rubric, p. 16.

Use computer. Student(s) dictate paragraph.

Reflection (after lesson is taught):

(See Student Materials I for Graphic Organizer, Collecting Your Thoughts)



RUBRIC, paragraph, Why Margaret Mead Became Famous

(_____ points possible)

(____ pts.)
Paragraph construction includes topic sentence, at least 3 supporting details, closing sentence. Paragraph construction acceptable but not clearly developed Poor paragraph construction.    
Quality of Information
(____ pts.)
Well-thought through reasons why Mead became famous are provided, and clearly and concisely expressed in writing. Reasons Mead became famous show some thought and are adequately expressed in writing. Reasons Mead became famous show little thought and are not acceptably expressed in writing.


(____ pts.)
Topic shows excellent grasp of content and information presented clearly relates to topic. Topic shows some grasp of content and most information presented relates to topic. Topic shows little grasp of content and much information presented does relate to topic.    
Conventions of English
(____ pts.)
Conventions of English excellent; no grammatical, spelling or punctuation errors. Conventions of English good; few grammatical, spelling or punctuation errors. Poor use of conventions of English; little attention paid to grammatical, spelling and punctuation.    


Margaret Mead Puzzle Answer Sheet


M = No matter what culture Mead studied, she related what she learned to ____.
A = Initials of museum Mead liked to visit as student (and worked during her entire career).
R = A group’s behavior and beliefs make up its ____.
G = Edward’s bad investments almost kept Margaret from attending ____.
A = Mead’s adviser who is known as the father of modern anthropology.
R = Emily Mead was pleased when, in 1920, women’s ____ became law with the 19th amendment to the Constitution.
E = The name of Margaret’s first husband.
T = One method of transportation Mead used to travel to the South Pacific.

M = The university where Margaret received her master’s and doctoral degrees.
E = Margaret Mead’s closest friend from her days at Barnard until the friend’s 1946 death.
A = Mead’s first best-selling book was titled Coming of Age in ____.
D = The name given trips anthropologists make to study other cultures.