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Duration
Less than 30 minutes
Topic(s)
  • Cold War
  • Journalism
Grade(s)
  • 6-12

Note: This activity focuses on the Cold War, but could be easily adapted for any historical or contemporary conflict that includes at least two clear, opposing sides, such as the North and South during the U.S. Civil War.

  1. Choose a hashtag for your students to use in each tweet and distribute. We suggest #ClassNameColdWar (ex: #English9ColdWar).
  2. If desired, create two Twitter accounts for your students to use, one for East Berliners and one for West Berliners.
  3. Tell students: Residents of East Berlin and West Berlin had very different experiences of the Cold War. Today, you are going to take on the role of a loyal resident of the East or West. They will read about key events during the Cold War, and tweet their reactions from their assigned perspective.
  4. Assign students to one of two groups: East Berlin or West Berlin.
  5. Go to the Hubbard concourse level and gather students at the exhibit entrance.
  6. Remind students to read each exhibit panel, to tweet using the assigned hashtag, and to respond to each other’s tweets.

  • Mobile devices with Internet access

As a group, review the series of tweets. Analyze the factors that affect point of view and the role of technology in shaping public opinion. Prompts include:

  • How were the East and West Berlin tweets similar? Different?
  • What clues did you use to tell if someone was from East or West Berlin?
  • If you were an outsider, which side’s record would you find more believable? Why?
  • Do you think tweets provide a more or less accurate record of current events than print newspapers? Why?
  • Do you think the Cold War would have turned out differently if Twitter existed? Why or why not?
  • What makes a modern Twitter campaign successful?

  • Lesson Plan - History Through H@ndles
  • Worksheet - History Through H@ndles Worksheet

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