Teach history with musicals with these musical movie studies including The Greatest Showman, Sound of Music, and more!
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Teach History with Musicals
I love teaching history through movies! History can bring a movie to life and make it more engaging. Even if they’re not completely accurate, they can provide springboards for discussion on the real events surrounding the film.
In this Musical Movie Studies bundle, there are over 50 pages of no-fluff worksheets, activities, and crafts for four great family musicals: Newsies, The Greatest Showman, The Sound of Music, and Fiddler on the Roof. Use them to bring a history lesson to light, get the kids learning over the summer, or to make a history lesson more engaging!
Disney’s Newsies is based off of the 1899 Newsboy Strikes in New York City. In the movie, Jack “Cowboy” Kelly dreams of escaping New York for Sante Fe. He works as a “newsie” in the city, delivering papers each day to make a living. When Joseph Pulitzer, the man who the boys purchase papers from raises the taxes on the papers, Jack and the rest of the newsboys decide to revolt. Throughout the movie, the boys fight against the system for fair treatment and wages. While they find themselves in danger at multiple moments, with the help of Theodore Roosevelt the “newsies” demands are eventually met.
This packet comes with activities and discussion focusing on reading comprehension, cause and effect, the music in the film, and more. Give your upper elementary or middle school students a chance to watch it and learn along with them through this fun guide!
The Greatest Showman
The Greatest Showman tells us about the life and work of P.T. Barnum tells the story of how he created such a fun, lasting show for our world today. After losing his job, P.T. invests in an old building and opens up his own museum. He eventually gets the idea to incorporate live acts and becomes a hit.
Although he received resistance from the people surrounding his “freak show,” he becomes obsessed with fame and fortune and falls away from what’s right for his family and business, causing it to crash. Luckily, by the end of the film, he realizes what was true all along and puts his energy back into his circus and those he loves.
This packet comes with over 12 pages of activities and discussion, plus a blank background page and an answer key. It’s aimed to not only discuss the movie, but also discover the true story of P.T. Barnum and the Barnum & Bailey Circus. It also dives into lessons of success, failure, courage, and kindness!
Fiddler on the Roof
In Fiddler on the Roof, Tevye is a poor Jewish milkman with five daughters. He and his family live in a small town patrolled by the Russians. As his oldest daughters begin looking for love, Tevye is forced to weigh traditions with a chancing world.
At the end of the musical the family is forced out of their small village.
This packet includes pages of discussion-based activities that will allow students to fully engage with the movie. Not only does it aim at discussing the musical, but also the historical aspect of the time period. This guide is complete with a star of David craft!
The Sound of Music
The Sound of Music is an Academy Award winner that has been a classic for decades.
Inspired by a true story, Maria, a young woman contemplating becoming a nun is a fun, family movie that touches on the history of Nazi rule. One of the nuns at the abbey feels as if Maria may not be content with being a nun and sends her off to a villa where she’s to care for the Von Trapp family. Although the family’s initial reaction to her being there is cold, Maria eventually wins over the kids and even their father becoming a permanent part of the family. While the film depicts Maria’s light and fun attitude, it also tells of the family’s struggle with the war going on and eventually their fleeing of their home country.
This study guide includes pages of activities that engages students with the film and pushes them to think more about what it looked like to live in Austria back in that time of tension and war. Not only does it push kids to learn facts, but also urges them to be creative with an edelweiss craft at the end!
You can grab the musical movie studies pack here and grab the DVDs: