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Educator Resources


There’s much more to Prohibition than gangsters and moonshine! Your students can explore the era that spans the temperance movement through the Roaring `20s, to the unprecedented repeal of a constitutional amendment.

Six reasons to bring your students to American Spirits: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition

1. The Constitution Gets Amended: Not Once, But Twice

  • Learn about why and how “We the People” changed the Constitution during the Prohibition era
  • Learn about the constitutional amendment process: how does it work?
  • Learn about how the 21st Amendment was the only amendment ratified by state conventions
NCSS Standards Met:

Power, Authority, and Governance. Understanding the historical development of structures of power, authority, and governance and their evolving functions in contemporary U.S. society and other parts of the world is essential for developing civic competence. In exploring this theme, students confront questions such as: What is power? What forms does it take? Who holds it? How is it gained, used, and justified? What is legitimate authority? How are governments created, structured, maintained, and changed? How can individual rights be protected within the context of majority rule?

Civic Ideals and Practices. An understanding of civic ideals and practices of citizenship is critical to full participation in society and is a central purpose of the social studies. Students confront questions such as: What is civic participation and how can I be involved? How has the meaning of citizenship evolved? What is the balance between rights and responsibilities? What is the role of the citizen in the community and the nation and as a member of the world community? How can I make a positive difference?

2. Explore Civic Action and Protest

  • Learn about the role of the temperance movement in creating the 18th Amendment and the role of the women’s suffrage movement in expanding women’s rights and ultimately creating the 19th Amendment.
  • Meet major figures of the Prohibition movement including Wayne Wheeler and Congressman Andrew Volstead.
NCSS Standards Met:

Individuals, Groups, and Institutions. Institutions such as schools, churches, families, government agencies, and the courts play an integral role in people’s lives. It is important that student \s learn how institutions are formed, what controls and influences them, how they influences individuals and culture, and how they are maintained or changed. Students may address questions such as: What is the role of institutions in this and other societies? How am I influenced by institutions? How do institutions change? What is my role in institutional change?

3. Understand Laws and Enforcement

  • Learn about laws such as the Volstead Act that were aimed to enforce Prohibition
  • Learn about Prohibition agents and corruption
  • Explore why organized crime came about due to Prohibition and the challenges faced by Prohibition agents
NCSS Standards Met:

Power, Authority, and Governance. Understanding the historical development of structures of power, authority, and governance and their evolving functions in contemporary U.S. society and other parts of the world is essential for developing civic competence. In exploring this theme, students confront questions such as: What is power? What forms does it take? Who holds it? How is it gained, used, and justified? What is legitimate authority? How are governments created, structured, maintained, and changed? How can individual rights be protected within the context of majority rule?

4. Introduce Themes of Ingenuity and Invention

  • Learn about the new products and inventions that were created as a result of Prohibition, such as speedboats and Kool Aid
  • Learn about the music, dance and other art forms created during the Roaring ‘20s
NCSS Standards Met:

Production, Distribution, and Consumption. Because people have wants that often exceed the resources available to them, a variety of ways have evolved to answer such questions as: What is to be produced? How is production to be organized? How are goods and services to be distributed? What is the most effective allocation of the factors of production (land, labor, capital, and management)?

5. Discover the Role of Women

  • Learn about the women’s suffrage movement and its relationship with the temperance movement
  • Explore the expanded role of women in inspiring social and political change
  • Learn about the 19th Amendment
  • Learn how the Roaring ‘20s changed women’s style and social habits – men and women started socializing together in speakeasy culture
NCSS Standards Met:

Individuals, Groups, and Institutions. Institutions such as schools, churches, families, government agencies, and the courts play an integral role in people’s lives. It is important that student \s learn how institutions are formed, what controls and influences them, how they influences individuals and culture, and how they are maintained or changed. Students may address questions such as: What is the role of institutions in this and other societies? How am I influenced by institutions? How do institutions change? What is my role in institutional change?

Culture. The study of culture prepares students to answer questions such as: What are the common characteristics of different cultures? How do belief systems, such as religion or political ideals, influence other parts of the culture? How does the culture change to accommodate different ideas and beliefs? What does language tell us about the culture?

6. Learn About the Legacy of Prohibition

  • Explore the influence on society and culture: fashion, music, how we socialize
  • Explore the lasting impact of the Prohibition era on alcohol laws and other laws
  • Consider how the Prohibition era inspired future civic action
NCSS Standards Met:

Time, Continuity, and Change. Human beings seek to understand their historical roots and to allocate themselves in time. Knowing how to read and reconstruct the past allows one to develop a historical perspective and to answer questions such as: Who am I? What happened in the past? How am I connected to those in the past? How has the world changed and how might it change in the future? Why does our personal sense of relatedness to the past change?






Audio Tour


Our self-guided iPod audio tour guides students through the complex world of amending the Constitution.

Student Guide

This exhibit guide, designed for middle and high school students, puts young people into the shoes of a reporter tracing the amendment process as they examine the passage of the 18th amendment and its effect on American culture, industry, and government.  




Programs




Lesson Plans


The Center has partnered with the Bill of Rights Institute to engage students and teachers in the valuable and engaging learning goals within the exhibition by creating five lessons on the Prohibition Era.  Though immersing students in history we can teach about significant historical figures, events and amendments that have changed our country and affect their lives today.  These lessons are a true value for anyone visiting the exhibition as well as teachers across the country. 

Who Said It? Quote Match

Prohibition Pictionary

Prohibition Essay

Prohibition-era Dinner Party

Prohibition SMART Board Lesson
(This lesson plan can only be viewed on a SMART Board)