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Teacher professional development and classroom resources across the curriculum

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Protest and Politics

1968, Year of the Barricades

Create a Classroom Timeline or Visual Thinking Wall About 1968

Learning Targets

  • I can identify when key youth protests happened around the world.
  • I can ask and answer questions about cause and effect relationships.
  • I can think about world events as interrelated.
  • I can use photos and other historical sources to examine the role of different historical “agents,” from individuals, to groups, to nations.
  • I can reach judgments about how I would have acted if I were an 18-year-old student in 1968.


The Introduction, Historical Background, and previous Activity Background sections are all relevant to this activity.

See the "Timeline of World Events in 1968" for additional background context on events taking place around the world in 1968.

Download Timeline of World Events in 1968 (PDF)

Questions to Consider

  • How would I have acted if I had been a student in 1968? What types of issues would I have protested, if any, and what tactics would I have used and why?
  • How can a common cause unite disparate groups of people?
  • Would the protest movements of 1968 have been as widespread without the media coverage, especially television?
  • What role did government and institutional response have in intensifying the protests?

Begin the Activity

If you have the space in your classroom or other location, tape up a long piece of butcher (or other) paper on a wall, or stretch it out along a floor or table. Ask students to divide up the length of the paper into 12 sections, one for each month of the year 1968. You should come prepared with small sticky notes (and, if possible, with images) to place at intervals that represent important world events not covered in this collection. For example: the Tet Offensive in Vietnam, the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., International Student meeting in Germany, protests at the U.S. Democratic National Convention in Chicago, Vietnam “Peace Talks” in Paris, the black power salute at the Olympics in Mexico City, and so on. (You may refer to the “Timeline of World Events in 1968” for ideas of what to include.)

Divide the class into groups. If your students participated in Examining Protest Movements Around the World Using Photos and Other Sources, they can regroup into the four countries they previously represented. Using printed photos from the archive, have students populate the timeline, taping up images with dates, and writing brief captions. As a class, go through the year and have students briefly remind each other of significant events and people. Be prepared to describe the events you posted. As you move through the year, discuss.

Extension Activity

Talk about events that included demonstrations or protest in the world over the past calendar year, or in a recent year.

Grade Level

Middle & High School


English Language Arts
U.S. History
World History


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Photos downloaded from the Essential Lens site are cleared for educational use only. For other uses, please contact Annenberg Learner for permission.

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Collection PDF (large)
Collection PDF (small)

Photographs in This Activity

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