A Cold War Family Dinner
Activity: You are going to be divided into families of three to five students each. Each group will
need two students to take on the roles of adults (parents, grandparents, other relatives, or family
friends) and one to three students to take on the roles of children of various ages. The assignment is for
each group to work together to identify at least one issue of the 1950's/60's that it will discuss in front
of the rest of the class as if the actors were a family around a table at dinnertime in the 1950's/1960's.
You will write scripts that correlate to the following Ohio Standards:
Benchmark E: Analyze connections between World War II, the Cold War, and contemporary conflicts
Explain how the Cold War and related conflicts influenced United States foreign policy after
1945 with emphasis on the Marshall Plan, communist containment, and the Korean War.
Benchmark F: Identify major historical patterns in the domestic affairs of the United States during the
20th century and explain their significance.
Explain major domestic developments after 1945 with emphasis on postwar prosperity and
Content: You will discuss pressing concerns of the 1950's/60's, concerns that might have made their
way to family dinner tables. You may choose to agree or disagree with each other.
-Each group must outline how the dinner table conversation will proceed.
-Each group must have a script to follow during the presentation.
-Groups have the option to “dress up”
-Groups have the option to create a “menu” to go along with their skit.
Here are some questions to consider!:
-At the beginning of the dinner, what are the moods of the various members of the family? Are they
glad to be together, or do some seem to resent the others?
-Who will bring up the issue (political, social, economic) that the family members will talk about at
dinner? What will that family member's position be?
-Who will challenge or agree with the first speaker? If more than one person wants to respond at the
same time, how will that conflict be settled? What will the challenger(s) say?
-How will the first speaker react to the challenges and the support of the other family members?
-Will the discussion end peacefully, or will members start arguing with one another? If the members
start fighting, how can the actors calm tempers so that the dinner doesn't totally fall apart?
-How will the dinner discussion end?
35 points: role-played conversation based on facts as well as opinions; equal distribution of the role-
playing among all “family” members; logical ending to role-playing session.
30 points: role-played conversation based on facts as well as opinions; poor distribution of the role-
playing among members; logical ending to role-playing session.
Below 30: role-played conversation not based on facts; only opinions; poor distribution of the role-
playing among members; inconclusive ending to role-playing session.