California and the Dream Seekers
This four part series documents the story of the birth and founding of the “Golden State.” From the first explorers who ventured across the seas from Spain in search of El Dorado to those who came afterward, spurred by hopes of freedom and opportunity, California has remained the ultimate expression of the American dream. This program is suitable for all grade levels and can be used in history, environmental science, African-American history, archeology, Spanish, economics, geography, and literature.
The last installment of this series focuses on Southern California during the 20th century and its evolution into an economically and technologically independent state. Visit beautiful Santa Barbara and the Spanish architecture that reflects the Southern California landscape. Then travel to a sleepy agricultural town known as Hollywood and watch as it is transformed into the world's film making center.
Not only is California known for its produce and film, but it is a leader in aviation technology. Fly with Charles Lindbergh as he travels into history by making the first solo flight across the Atlantic in a plane built in California.
In the 1920s the depression affected a whole country and California was seen as a land of opportunity to many migrant workers. Two of America’s premier artists built their careers around the suffering of these people in the hopes that it would warrant change - Dorethea Lange and John Steinbeck.
Then with the attack on Pearl Harbor, California and its residents again rose to the occasion and military training facilities were set up along the coast.
This program is suitable for all ages and can be used in media/film, science and technology, government, social studies, English, language and photojournalism classes.
Look at a picture of the architecture found in Santa Barbara. Compare this to the architecture found in your town. How is it similar/different? What region of the world influenced much of the architecture found in California? What other regions resemble this type of construction? Related programs: Americas Castles.
In 1904, Sunset Blvd. was built. What two cities did it connect? How would this change the history of both these cities?
Who is Charles Lindbergh? 1997 was 70th Anniversary of his solo flight across the Atlantic. What was distance he traveled? How long did it take him? How long does it take a commercial airliner to make the same trip? For more information on aviators see our Biographies on the Wright Brothers and Amelia Earhart.
Who was Claude Ryan and what did he accomplish in his lifetime? For information on the technology of aviation see our Biography on Alexander Graham Bell.
What is a hobby? Do you have any hobbies? What are they? Prepare a presentation using any media and explain your hobby to your class. If possible conduct a demonstration that involves the whole class.
During what time period did the Depression occur? what was it the result of? How did it effect the country?
Who was Dorethea Lange? Examine some of her works. How did the Depression effect her photographs? What makes them compelling and timeless? What was she trying to capture in her photos?
In what year and city was John Steinbeck born? How do you think his life experiences influenced his writing? Are these experiences reflected in his work? Do you think this is what makes him such a well-loved and successful writer? Why or why not? What is meant by the term human condition? Can we relate this to Steinbecks work? Explain.
What organization was created to help build such landmarks as the Golden Gate Bridge and Hoover Dam? What was the goal of the Public Works? Was it successful in reaching its goals? For additional information on these structures see The History Channel program Modern Marvels.
Locate Pearl Harbor on a map. Which state is it located in? What happened there on December 7, 1941 that changed California and the United States forever? What role did California play in World War II? Why? How did our involvement affect the growth of the state both during and after the War? For more information on Pearl Harbor see The History Channel production Road to Infamy.
Do you have a favorite artist (musician, writer, dancer, painter). Who is it? Bring in a sample of their work and explain to the class why you enjoy their work so much. Now, pick a topic that is important to you - pollution, crime, love, family, etc., and select a media (film, photo, painting, poetry) and depict it as best you can using the art form you have selected.
Read John Steinbecks novel The Grapes of Wrath. Pick a scene in the book that you found especially compelling and with other students in your class act it (you may use music, art, video, drama). Before showing the class your work explain the scene and why you selected it. Be sure to include how it relates to your life.