Explore the ‘60s Learning Unit I

Music of the 1960s

Grades 6-12

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.R.1- Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.R.3 - Analyze how and why individuals, events, or ideas develop and interact over the course of a text.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.SL.2 - Integrate and evaluate information presented in diverse media and formats, including visually, quantitatively, and orally.

Time Requirement:

  • 120 minutes (45 minutes per activity)

Lesson Description:

In this Explore the '60s learning unit, students examine the concept of music as a powerful form of expression and agent of social change through a process of investigation and creative activation. Students are first encouraged to use art and writing in response to questions that compel them to consider the role of music in their own lives and in society today. In Activity 1, students design their own album covers to explore how visual imagery and symbols can communicate artists’ messages and sentiments. In Activity 2, students engage in a song analysis activity, comparing and contrasting protest music of the 1960s and today to examine symbolic language in lyrics and discover personal connections therein.


  • Students understand the evolution of music from the 1950s-1960s and how the shift in sound, lyrical content, and modes of listening were a reflection of the changing times.
  • Students will understand how artists use music as well as visual imagery to express their thoughts and opinions about the world around them, to spark dialogue, and to promote change.

Recommended Materials:

  • Paper, 8x10 or larger
  • Drawing supplies: pens, pencils, crayons, markers, paint
  • Collage supplies (optional): magazines, scissors, glue

Resources: Listen, Watch, and Read!