Lesson Plan: Modern Counterculture Movements
Many young people in North America
in the 1960s and 1970s became part of a socio-cultural group known as
"hippies." Growing out of the Beat movement in the late 1950s, the hippie
movement was founded on the ideals of love, peace, community, music, and
experimentation with sexual freedom and drugs.
The hippies were political liberals. They urged the government to stop the Vietnam War and championed the rights of women and minorities. Many of the social and political changes of the 1960s and '70s related to those rights can be attributed, in part, to the influence of the hippies.
Groups of hippies would often stage large-scale public protests, usually peaceful and non-violent, to make their views known. Like the hippies of the 1960s and '70s, there are many groups operating in North America today who have an anti-establishment agenda. Some of these organizations use legal political protest while others resort to more subversive, even illegal, activities to spread their message.
Students will prepare a
presentation, on poster board or presentation software, about one contemporary
protest group. They will deliver their presentation to an in-class symposium
designed to educate Canadians about current anti-establishment groups.
Divide the class into small groups and assign or have them select one of the following organizations, or encourage students to select an organization with which they are familiar:
The Ontario Coalition Against Poverty
The "occupy" movement
The presentations should be designed to introduce the class to these organizations and must include the following:
Basic information about the organization's history, philosophy, and mission.
Information about the group's activities and membership.
At least three news articles pertaining to the group in the last two years.
A comparison of the organization's philosophy and methods with those of the 1960s counterculture movement.
Direct students to the topic Hippie Society: The Youth Rebellion on the CBC Digital Archives website. They can begin their research by taking notes about the philosophy and methods of the anti-establishment protest of the hippies. They will then expand their research to include a general internet search and any relevant resources they find. Students will create a 10- to 15-minute presentation. Encourage them to use a variety of multi-media resources to enhance their presentation.
Have each group deliver its presentation as part of the symposium, and invite questions from the audience. After viewing all presentations, students can discuss and compare the groups. Ask:
Do you support the cause of any of these groups? Why?
Which group do you believe uses successful methods to share its message? Why?
Which messages or methods make you uncomfortable? Why?
What one thing would you like to do to help advance the cause of one of the groups?