Social Class

Resource Type:

Reading Level:

    • The 1934 West Coast Longshore Strike

    • Teaching Activity. By Bill Bigelow and Norm Diamond. 20 pages.
      Students “become” several of the social groups who participated in the 1934 Longshore Workers Strike—some of whom had to answer the question, “Which side are you on?”

    • Resource Types: Teaching Activities (Free) | Time Periods: Prosperity, Depression, & World War II: 1920 - 1944, 20th Century | Themes: Labor, Organizing, Social Class | Reading Levels: High School
    • Birth of a Rank-and-File Organizer

    • Teaching Activity. By Bill Bigelow and Norm Diamond. 7 pages.
      Writing activity for students to complete the narrative of women workers striking at a glove-making factory, exploring possible outcomes.

    • Resource Types: Teaching Activities (Free) | Themes: Labor, Organizing, Social Class, Women's History | Reading Levels: Grades 6-8, High School
    • Daughter of Earth: Reading, Writing, and Social Class

    • Teaching Activity. By Bill Bigelow. 7 pages.
      Students read a poignant excerpt from Agnes Smedley’s novel, Daughter of Earth, and use it to think and write about how schooling—their own included—teaches lessons about social class.

    • Resource Types: Teaching Activities (Free) | Time Periods: Turn of the Century: 1900 - 1909, 20th Century | Themes: Education, Social Class, Women's History | Reading Levels: High School
    • The Draft Riot Mystery

    • Teaching Activity. By Bill Bigelow. 9 pages.
      Students are invited to solve a mystery, using historical clues, about the real story of the Draft Riots.

    • Resource Types: Teaching Activities (Free) | Time Periods: Civil War Era: 1850 - 1864, 19th Century | Themes: Democracy & Citizenship, Immigration, Racism & Racial Identity, Slavery, Social Class, Wars & Related Anti-War Movements | Reading Levels: High School
    • Free to Think, Talk, Listen, or Sing

    • Teaching Activity. By Bill Bigelow and Norm Diamond. 6 pages.
      Students work with a chapter from Milton Meltzer’s classic book, Bread and Roses, to see the impact of late 19th century factory work on workers’ home lives.

    • Resource Types: Teaching Activities (Free) | Themes: Labor, Social Class | Reading Levels: Grades 6-8, High School
    • The Homestead Strike

    • Teaching Activity. By Bill Bigelow and Norm Diamond. 10 pages.
      This role play activity on the famous 1892 Homestead Strike, explores the possibility of solidarity among workers of very different backgrounds and at different levels in the workplace hierarchy.

    • Resource Types: Teaching Activities (Free) | Themes: Immigration, Labor, Organizing, Social Class | Reading Levels: High School
    • Hunger on Trial: An Activity on the Irish Potato Famine and Its Meaning for Today

    • Teaching Activity. By Bill Bigelow. 5 pages.
      Role play in the form of a trial to determine who was responsible for the death of Irish peasants during the potato famine.

    • Resource Types: Teaching Activities (Free) | Time Periods: Early 19th Century: 1800 - 1849, 19th Century | Themes: Environment & Food, Immigration, Social Class, World History/Global Studies | Reading Levels: High School
    • Labor Songs

    • Teaching Activity. By Bill Bigelow and Norm Diamond. 7 pages.
      Students explore the power of songs to build solidarity and increase understanding. This is the final activity from Bigelow and Diamond’s labor history book, The Power in Our Hands, and draws on the other lessons.

    • Resource Types: Teaching Activities (Free) | Themes: Art & Music, Labor, Organizing, Social Class | Reading Levels: Grades 6-8, High School
    • Lewis Hine’s Photographs

    • Teaching Activity. By Bill Bigelow and Bob Peterson. 4 pages.
      Using photographs to spark creative writing and critical thinking about child labor issues and social justice.

    • Resource Types: Teaching Activities (Free) | Time Periods: Industrial Revolution: 1877 - 1899, Turn of the Century: 1900 - 1909, 19th Century, 20th Century | Themes: Art & Music, Immigration, Labor, Media, Social Class | Reading Levels: Adult
    • Modern Times

    • Teaching Activity. By Bill Bigelow and Norm Diamond. 2 pages.
      This lesson uses Charlie Chaplin’s hilarious classic film, Modern Times, to help students think about the impact of “scientific management” on the workplace.

    • Resource Types: Teaching Activities (Free) | Themes: Economics, Labor, Social Class | Reading Levels: Grades 6-8, High School
    • Organic Goodie Simulation

    • Teaching Activity. By Bill Bigelow and Norm Diamond. 7 pages.
      Lesson engages students in a lively simulation that helps them experience some of the pressures that lead workers to organize.

    • Resource Types: Teaching Activities (Free) | Themes: Economics, Labor, Organizing, Social Class | Reading Levels: Grades 6-8, High School
    • Plotting Inequalities, Building Resistance: High School Students Use Math to Reflect on Social Inequality (Teaching Activity) | Zinn Education Project: Teaching People's History
    • Plotting Inequalities, Building Resistance: High School Students Use Math to Reflect on Social Inequality

    • Teaching Activity. By Adam Renner, Bridget Brew, and Crystal Proctor. 5 pages.
      An article describing how math teachers in a San Francisco high school shed light on the ways economics and racism affect education, housing, and job opportunities.

    • Resource Types: Teaching Activities (Free) | Time Periods: 2001 - Present, 21st Century | Themes: African American, Economics, Latino, Math, Social Class | Reading Levels: Grades 6-8, High School
    • Salt of the Earth: Grounds Students in Hope

    • Teaching Activity. By S.J. Childs. 6 pages.
      The author describes how she introduces students to the classic 1953 film, Salt of the Earth, about a miners’ strike in New Mexico.

    • Resource Types: Teaching Activities (Free) | Time Periods: Cold War: 1945 - 1960, People’s Movement: 1961 - 1974, 20th Century | Themes: Labor, Latino, Social Class, Women's History | Reading Levels: High School
    • Shutdown!—Confronting Plant Closures

    • Teaching Activity. By Bill Bigelow and Norm Diamond. 14 pages.
      In this role play activity, students assume the roles of union members and attempt to figure out how to respond to a threatened plant closure.

    • Resource Types: Teaching Activities (Free) | Themes: Economics, Labor, Organizing, Social Class | Reading Levels: High School
    • Stealing Home: Eminent Domain, Urban Renewal, and the Loss of Community (Teaching Activity) | Zinn Education Project: Teaching People's History
    • Stealing Home: Eminent Domain, Urban Renewal, and the Loss of Community

    • Teaching Activity. By Linda Christensen. 9 pages.
      Teaching about patterns of displacement and wealth inequality through the history of Chávez Ravine and the building of Dodger Stadium.

    • Resource Types: Teaching Activities (Free) | Time Periods: Cold War: 1945 - 1960, 20th Century, 21st Century | Themes: African American, Economics, Latino, Laws & Citizen Rights, Racism & Racial Identity, Social Class | Reading Levels: High School
    • Stepping into Selma: Voting Rights History and Legacy Today (Teaching Activity) | Zinn Education Project: Teaching People's History
    • Stepping into Selma: Voting Rights History and Legacy Today

    • Teaching Activity. Teaching for Change. 2015. 20 pages.
      Introductory lesson on key people and events in the long history of the Selma freedom movement.

    • Resource Types: Teaching Activities (Free) | Time Periods: People’s Movement: 1961 - 1974, 20th Century | Themes: African American, Civil Rights Movements, Democracy & Citizenship, Organizing, Social Class | Reading Levels: Grades 6-8, High School
    • "Taylorizing" Burgers: A Fantasy

    • Teaching Activity. By Bill Bigelow and Norm Diamond. 8 pages.
      In this playful activity, students utilize the principles of “scientific management” to restructure a burger joint—one that has been run a good deal more democratically and imaginatively.

    • Resource Types: Teaching Activities (Free) | Themes: Economics, Labor, Social Class | Reading Levels: High School
    • Union Maids (Teaching Activity) | Zinn Education Project: Teaching People's History
    • Union Maids

    • Teaching Activity. By Bill Bigelow and Norm Diamond. 3 pages.
      Activity for students to write from the point of view of one of the women featured in the film Union Maids.

    • Resource Types: Teaching Activities (Free) | Themes: Art & Music, Labor, Organizing, Social Class, Women's History | Reading Levels: Grades 6-8, High School
    • Who Makes History?

    • Teaching Activity. By Bill Bigelow and Norm Diamond. 3 pages.
      This lesson introduces students to Bertolt Brecht’s poem, A Worker Reads History. Students reflect on the creative role of workers in making history.

    • Resource Types: Teaching Activities (Free) | Themes: Democracy & Citizenship, Labor, Social Class | Reading Levels: Grades 6-8, High School
    • The Black Upsurge Against Racial Segregation

    • Teaching Activity. By Tasha Boettcher. 17 pages.
      Questions and teaching ideas for Chapter 17 of Voices of a People’s History of the United States on the long Civil Rights Movement in America.

    • Resource Types: Teaching Guides | Time Periods: People’s Movement: 1961 - 1974, 20th Century | Themes: African American, Civil Rights Movements, Laws & Citizen Rights, Racism & Racial Identity, Social Class | Reading Levels: High School
    • The Carter–Reagan–Bush Consensus

    • Teaching Activity. By Ron Perry. 16 pages.
      Questions and teaching ideas for Chapter 21 of Voices of a People’s History of the United States on the recently rising disparities in power, wealth and quality of life in America.

    • Resource Types: Teaching Guides | Time Periods: Post-Civil Rights Era: 1975 - 2000, 20th Century | Themes: Democracy & Citizenship, Social Class, US Foreign Policy | Reading Levels: High School
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