Dining with American Progressive Era Celebrities

Mrs. West’s American History class had a chance to step back in time before Spring Break! She hosted a “Progressive Era Dinner Party”, allowing her students to act out famous progressive figures in American History and give them a chance to interact over a meal.
The Progressive figures in the room ranged from advocates against terrible working conditions to naturalists and racial justice heroes to politicians. Students could immerse themselves into their assigned historical figure as much as they wished; many chose to come in some kind of costume and speak “in an olden fashion”.  Mrs. West explained, “The goal is to highlight key figures in the Progressive Era and to compare and contrast their goals and strategies. This runs like a Socratic Seminar with students running the discussion for the most part.” 

Throughout the “dinner party”, Mrs. West provided traditional staples like lemonade, shortbread cookies, and hotdogs, as well as newly popularized foods of the times like Oreo cookies and Hershey Kisses. While students ate, they had a chance to listen to their fellow diners introduce themselves, their cause, or who their allies and foes in the room were. For example, suffragettes Alice Paul and Lucy Burns were united against President Woodrow Wilson, because they were arrested for marching in Washington D.C. the day before his inauguration. 

We love seeing these interactive activities in the classroom. Way to go, Mrs. West!