Guide: Suggestions for Active Learning
offers insights into American history topics including the Jazz
Age, the Depression, World War II, the Baby Boom, feminist and civil rights activism of the
1960s, the women's liberation movement, women's changing roles in society, women and the
workplace, leisure, the rise of television, beauty ideals, individualism, self-image, and
consumerism. You can use part or all of the film, or delve into the rich resources available on
this Web site to learn more, either in a classroom or on your own.
The following activities are grouped into 4 categories: history, economics, geography, and
culture/civics. You can also read a few
for completing the activities.
1. Read about the
and the century of svelte. Then scan
to see the height, weight, and measurements of Miss America winners over the years. Now
hold a class debate on the following question: Does the Miss America pageant cause women to
judge themselves -- and to be judged by others -- by unhealthy or unrealistic standards?
2. How is your gender portrayed in advertising today? Create a collage of photographs from at
least three different sources, such as news magazines, fashion magazines, sports magazines, and
newspapers. (Alternatively, you could create a "video collage" of video clips from television ads,
or computer-based presentation of images from Web pages.) Try to show a variety of body types.
After the class has reviewed each person's collage, hold a class discussion on your reactions to
the collages you and your classmates created. Are you more aware now of what kinds of body
types are portrayed in ads? Has this exercise changed your attitude toward advertising, and if so,
3. In recent years the Miss America pageant has made the social platform a requirement for
contestants. Read about
Miss Americas with minds of their own
, especially Kay Lani Rae Rafko,
who spoke on hospice care in 1988. Review the social platforms adopted by pageant winners
from 1990 on, in the
list of Miss America winners
. Now adopt a social platform of your own,
research it, and make a presentation to the class on why the cause is important. At the end of the
presentations, students can vote to select the top 5 causes presented. If time and inclination
permit, class members can get involved in the cause of their choice, volunteering their time and