Grade level:


Approximate Lesson Duration:

1-2 blocks

Unit/Lesson New Jersey Student Learning Standards (NJSLS):

6.1.12.A.14.f: Determine the extent to which nongovernmental organizations, special interest groups, third party political groups, and the media affect public policy

6.1.12.B.14.b: Analyze how regionalization, urbanization, and suburbanization have led to social and economic reform movements in New Jersey and the United States.

6.1.12.D.14.d:  Evaluate the extent to which women, minorities, individuals with gender preferences, and individuals with disabilities have met their goals of equality in the workplace, politics, and society

Brief Summary of Cultural Competencies Related to the Unit/Lesson:

What makes this lesson culturally relevant?

In this lesson, students will analyze the importance of geographic and spatial dynamics as they relate to helping to foster an environment that is indicative of cultural change. At the culmination, students will see how the spaces that were established helped lead to such cultural milestones as the Stonewall Riots.

Lesson Overview:

Essential Question(s)
  • How does geography promote social change?
  • Why was New York City’s The Village a hotbed of cultural change during the 50s, 60s, and 70s? 
  • How can we contextualize these dynamics within history?
Enduring Understanding(s)

At the culmination of this lesson, students will have a broader understanding of how geography creates more than boundaries and physical demarcations, but can also help to engage community movements and produce cultural change.

Potential Misconceptions

Students need a solid foundation in understanding the various different movements that are a product of the time (i.e. beatniks, LGBTQ, Civil Rights, etc.)

Learning plan, experiences, intstruction and learning activities:

What is Expected?
  • List the intentional learning objectives on the board.

Students will be able to:


  • Analyze how space within a geographic area helps to create social change 
  • Describe how various landmarks of NYC’s Village helped to become markers of social change 



Today we will be working on… how we look at the concept of “space.” You might only think of “space” as a physical thing – something that we can define by borders, but think of space as something that can help build communities, bring people together, and provide a way for cultural revolutions to emerge.

What is expected?
How will we hook (Introduce this to) the students?
  • Activate thinking
  • Consider the language you will use to introduce the lesson (See example in the table)

Link to Engagement

Upon entering the classroom, students will be given a map of NYC’s Greenwich village. This also includes lists of former businesses, and other establishments that were located within the Village itself. Students will spend examining the map and then answer the following prompts in a discussion: 

  • What locations would produce change through discussion? 
  • What locations would be places that would provide people with a safe space to discuss ideas and voice your opinion openly? 
  • Which area would be a good place to have a large demonstration or protest? Why? 
  • What places would be able to discuss cultural change through the following: 
    • Art? 
    • Music? 
    • Literature?
What equipment, resources, or materials are needed?



How will we rethink or revise our thinking throughout the lesson?
  • What learning is confirmed?
  • What misconceptions are uncovered?
  • What is your new thinking?
  • Throughout the lesson, students should be reflecting on the following essential questions that deal with how spaces can create new dynamics in the surrounding world. 
  • Misconceptions about how geography is simply only studied by the formation of physical boundaries are 
  • New thinking is that geography can help not only define physical space, but set boundaries and guidelines that can be used to promote a community that embraces differences to the societal norms.
How will students self-evaluate and reflect on their learning?

Students will reflect and evaluate the usage of space and how it can be viewed as a medium to create cultural collaboration by helping to re-write and contextualize historical landmark spaces within New York City’s Village. 

How will we tailor learning to varied needs, interests, and learning styles?
  • Questions / resources can be modified to meet the needs of the individual student.  
  • Readings / Photographs can be added (or removed) to ensure that all students comprehend 
  • Lexile levels can be adjusted of the reading can be modified to aid struggling learners.
How will we organize the sequence of learning during the lesson?

Scaffold the Instruction

  1. Model
  • Teachers should have an overhead / projection of the map of the Village and begin by asking students “What would make you want to visit here?” And then start by having students come up to the board and circle various landmarks of interest in one color. 
  • Teachers should then prompt students to recall prior learning to discuss the various movements that were a part of the Village in the late 60s. Ask students to circle on their maps landmarks that they think would help to promote cultural change and why. Have students come up to the board and circle other landmarks (coffeeshops, theaters, clubs, etc.) and ask them to explain their choice. 
  1. Guided Practice
  • Students will be broken into groups based on teacher discretion and will be assigned a station. Students will explore the various different ways in which geography can impact cultural movements and promote social change. Students will have a series of questions to answer (based on teacher choice) about each station: 
    • How does this document promote social change? 
    • Why do you think that the artists/group chose this location? 
    • Analyze the physical geography of the area (i.e. streets, surrounding locales, etc.) – what would make people meet here? Why not somewhere else? 
    • How does this movement, song, photograph, etc. describe the social changes that took place in the 1960s? 
    • Why would this event happen here specifically? 
    • How can neighborhoods promote cultural cohesion? Provide an example from the document that displays this concept. 

Independent Practice

  • After learning about the various groups, movements, and dynamics that existed in the Village, students will have the opportunity to write a new monument placard for a landmark that they feel was integral to promoting cultural competency and shifting social norms to promote change.

Check for understanding:

(Formative evidence such as conferencing, group Q/A, teacher observation, exit-slip, etc.)

Teachers should monitor and frequently check in on the progress of the students to see that they are completing the task at hand.

Quiz/Test (optional):
(attach copy of assessment)

Performance Task/Project:
(attach rubric)

Students will be re-writing and contextualizing a sign / placard for a famous landmark in the Village that is associated with the construct of social change and demonstration.


Download Lesson Plan PDF:


Creating A Space for Change 91.65 KB 19 downloads

Please register or log in to download.