Master of the Airwaves: How FDR Used Radio to Ease the Public’s Fears

This Master of the Airwaves: How FDR Used Radio to Ease the Public’s Fears lesson plan also includes:

The political and economic climate during the 1930's was uncertain and tumultuous. But Americans' minds and hearts were eased with the reassuring words of their president, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and addresses over the radio. High schoolers explore the value of persuasion with a lesson that prompts them to modernize the famous Fireside Chats with podcast technology and a thorough look at effective persuasive techniques.

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CCSS: Designed
Instructional Ideas

  • Have class members watch the videos for homework before returning to class to begin the activity
  • Assign small groups particular subjects to research and debate, or allow them to propose their own
Classroom Considerations

  • If you don't have access to the various podcast programs or recording equipment, consider having learners perform their shows live
  • Lesson is based on Ken Burns' documentary The Roosevelts: An Intimate History, and provides relevant video clips
  • Requires four to five class periods
Pros

  • Incorporates technology, speaking and listening, American history, and research skills into one project
  • Provides a rubric for straightforward assessment
Cons

  • None