Teaching Students About Prohibition
Prohibition was a significant event in American history that has had a lasting impact on the country’s culture and attitudes towards alcohol. As educators, it is essential to teach students about this era and how it shaped the United States. Here are some tips and ideas on how to teach students about prohibition.
1. Start with the basics
The first step in teaching students about prohibition is to provide an overview of what it was and why it was enacted. Prohibition was a constitutional amendment that banned the production, sale, and transportation of alcoholic beverages in the United States from 1920 to 1933. The 18th Amendment was passed in response to concerns about the negative effects of alcohol on society.
2. Use primary sources
Using primary sources is a great way to help students understand what life was like during prohibition. Primary sources can include photographs, letters, news articles, and government documents. One useful primary source is the book “The Great Gatsby,” which takes place during prohibition.
3. Discuss the impact of prohibition
Prohibition had several unintended consequences, which are important to discuss in the classroom. These include an increase in organized crime, a rise in illegal alcohol production and consumption, and a loss of tax revenue for the government. Discussing the impact of prohibition can help students understand why it was eventually repealed.
4. Compare and contrast
Comparing and contrasting prohibition with modern-day laws and policies is also an effective way to teach students about this era. For example, compare the legalization of marijuana in some states with the prohibition of alcohol. It can also be beneficial to discuss whether prohibition could work today and what lessons can be learned from the past.
5. Engage in activities
Engaging in activities is a great way to keep students interested in the topic. Activities can include creating a mock trial about prohibition, conducting a debate, or analyzing political cartoons from the era. These activities not only help students learn about prohibition but also help them develop critical thinking and analytical skills.
In conclusion, teaching students about prohibition is crucial for understanding American history and culture. By starting with the basics, using primary sources, discussing the impact of prohibition, comparing and contrasting, and engaging in activities, educators can help students develop a more comprehensive understanding of this era.