United States History

Prosperity and Depression Portfolio Project
What Issues Divided the United States During the 1920s?
The 1920s were a time of rapid changed in the United States. Issues such as prohibition,
women’s rights, immigration, and the new idea of evolution as the driving force of life’s
development divided the country between those pushing for change and those resistant
to it. People debated these issues in books, newspaper articles, classrooms, and
For this portfolio project, you will explore different perspectives on an issue by
researching both sides of the issue. You will then use your findings to create a poem for
two voices.
Poems for two voices are written to be read by two people. Often these poems offer two
sides of the same experience. Usually, the poems are written in two columns, one read
by each person. Words that are spoken at the same time are written on the same line.
Your portfolio assignment has four steps:
• choosing an issue
• researching both sides of the issue
• analyzing your research
• writing a poem for two voices
Step 1: Choosing an Issue
Choose an issue on which to focus your dialogue. Here are some possible issues to
• prohibition
• advancements in production and consumerism
• women’s rights
• immigration
• evolution
• an issue of your own choice
Step 2: Research
Research your chosen issue. You will need to find all of the following information to
complete your two-voiced poem:
• Basic facts of the issue: who, what, when, where, and why
You can use note cards, type your notes on the computer, or use some other method of
© 2011 Connections Education LLC. All rights reserved.
There are many sources of information about this time period, including your textbook,
Discovery Education™, and Grolier Online® (linked from your EMS home page).
Step 3: Research Analysis
Before you write your poem, reflect on the information you learned while researching
your issue. Write down your thoughts on the following questions; you will need the
answers to complete your poem.
• What sensory imagery* can you use to describe each perspective?
o *sensory imagery allows a reader to see, hear, touch, smell, and taste
what the writer wants them to experience. Example: The biting wind
wailed as they trudged toward home. Words such as “biting,” “wailed,”
and “trudged” use the senses to give the reader a clearer idea of what is
• How do you think your two perspectives on the issue would vary?
• What things might the two perspectives agree on?
• How can you demonstrate the differences in viewpoint in a poem for two voices?
Step 4: Writing a Poem for Two Voices
Now write a poem for two voices with differing perspectives on your chosen issue. One
column of the poem should be from one perspective. The other column should be from
the other perspective.
Your poem should include the following:
• a balance of the two perspectives
• accurate historical facts about the issue and events surrounding the issue
• creative details that can be inferred from the historical facts
• sensory imagery that appeals to the five senses
Follow the format of a poem for two voices, using the guidelines below:
• Each column is a different voice or person.
• If both people speak at the same time, the words are written on the same line in
both columns.
o Example:
 Chicago, city of hope Chicago, city of ruins
Both speakers would be saying their lines at the same time.
• If only one speaker is speaking at a time, use a blank line to represent silence.
The other speaker will have a line to speak in his column.
o Example:
 The city grows strong with new life
The city dies
Each of these lines would be spoken alone, one after the other.
• Try to have the lines reflect each other. For instance, both of the “Chicago” lines
describe the city—one describes it as a city of hope, while the other describes it
as a city of ruins. In the second set of lines, each speaker is presenting his/her
contrasting ideas about the city—one says that the city is growing with new life
and the other believes that the city is dying. These compare and contrast the
viewpoints of the city.
• Since this is a poem, you do not have to respect standard grammar, punctuation,
or capitalization rules. However, your poem should be free of spelling errors.
© 2011 Connections Education LLC. All rights reserved.

Sample Solution