This guide is meant for high school and college-level teachers who are using this site with their classes, and for anyone who wishes to take a more directed route through the information presented. The activities are divided into two categories: those which can be completed using the site alone and those requiring additional sources of information.
WITHIN THE SITE:
In small groups, choose a historian or journalist (from the "Hindsight" section). Search the site for pieces of evidence that support the view of that writer. Find evidence that contradicts it. Compare your results with other small groups. As a class, discuss the various arguments; which do you find most persuasive?
Choose a question or argument you have discussed in class, and do further research to deepen your understanding.
What happened here?
Choose one photograph from the "Photos" section. Write a caption and a 200 word story describing what happened. Use information from elsewhere in the site, but also use your own interpretation of what you see. Compare your story to those of others in the class. Discuss the differences in interpretation -- why do they occur?
Now do additional research about what happened in that photograph, or what it means. By doing outside rsearch you could especially learn more about the photo with Richard Nixon in a hardhat, and the one with a sign reading "God Bless the Establishment"
You work for the CBS evening news and you must create a two minute broadcast about the events of May 8 in New York. In small groups, write the story using material from the hardhats web site and any other sources you may have.
Choose one person who will be Walter Cronkite and deliver the newscast to the class. Then compare your report to those of other groups in the class. How were they different? Pay attention to what the reports emphasized; what evidence they selected or edited; and what arguments they made (explicitly or implicitly)
What do the results tell you about writing history?
Compare and Contrast
Both the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal covered the events of May 8, 1970. Compare and contrast their versions of what happened. Which elements of the story does each article emphasize? To what extent do the articles offer facts and to what extent do they offer opinions? How do you distinguish between fact and opinion? What might account for the differences beteween the two articles?
USING ADDITIONAL MATERIALS:
Oral history interviews
Find someone who was roughly your age in 1970, and interview them about these events from the first week in May.
What makes a good interview question? In small groups or as a class, make a list of questions about the week of Kent State. Use the hardhats web site and other sources to guide you. Invite someone (for example, another teacher) to come to your class for a practice interview. Select several people to interview that person and analyze what worked and what did not.
Then go out and do your own interview with someone you choose. Ask permission to tape record the interview. If you do record it, review the tape and choose the most interesting passages. Transcribe them (write them down, word for word) and share with the class. Compare with interviews conducted by your classmates -- and compare with the information in the "hardhats" web site.
As a variation, find someone who was older -- in their 20s, 30s, or 40s -- in 1970. Interview them, and compare to interviews with someone who was your age. What can you learn from the differences in the interviews?
Write an essay exploring some of the issues raised by the interviews. For example, what is different about growing up in 1970 and growing up in the late 1990s? How did the experiences of May 1970 shape the lives of people you and your classmates interviewed? What are the advantages, and the disadvantages, of learning about history by interviewing people who lived through it? How does it compare to the web site? To other written sources?
Watch an episode of the television show "All in the Family," which premiered in 1971 (look for it in reruns or rent it). Using information from the web site (especially sections on the "blue-collar worker" and "Middle Americans") analyze the character of Archie Bunker. Do research about the popularity of the show. Try to assess why it was so popular, and what impact it had on American culture. How did the show relate to the events of May, 1970?
Doing some research
Using microfilm in your school or public library, look at your local newspaper for May 9, 1970. What -- if anything -- did it say about the events in New York City? What was the leading headline and story on page 1 that day? Look at the newspaper for other key dates in that week: May 1 (invasion of Cambodia); May 5 (Kent State); and May 10 (protest in Washington), for example. How was the lead story presented? What else was going on in your town, and in America -- including sports, entertainment, etc.
Choose another newspaper that your library has on microfilm, and compare two different accounts of the same events. What are the similarities and differences about the way they presented the news?
In small groups or individually, prepare a brief newscast for one of the days covered in these papers, and present it to the class. You will have to decide how to select and edit the information to fit into your newscast. Compare how different groups or individuals approached this task.
What does the textbook say?
Compare what you learn in the "hardhats" web site to what your textbook says about these same events.
Specifically, find these terms or events in your textbook:
invasion of Cambodia
Take notes on what the textbook says about them, and compare to what you can learn from the web site. Discuss your findings as a class.