The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame + Museum


STI Lesson Plans

Below is a list of lesson plans created by educators during past Summer Teacher Institutes. They are included here as a way to share past projects with current teachers.

These resources are intended to stimulate student interest and creativity, to develop higher order thinking skills and to promote interdisciplinary learning. Please be aware, that some material contained in these lessons may be considered controversial or inappropriate by some students, educators, admininistrators and parents; it is the responsibility of individual educators to determine whether any particular lesson conforms to the accepted standards of his or her particular school and community.

In addition, educators will note that lessons do not contain printed lyrics to the suggested music. For legal reasons, the Education Department is unable to distribute lyrics and music over the internet. Educators can obtain lyrics through a variety of sources including several authorized web sites, books (see further reading list), songbooks (at music stores or at the library) and the actual liner notes to CDs, tapes and albums.

  • Lesson 1: Keep on Pushing: Popular Music and the Civil Rights Movement
  • Lesson 2: Langston Hughes and the Blues
  • Lesson 3: Fifties/Sixties Musical Playwriting Workshop
  • Lesson 4: The Vietnam War: A Popular Music Approach
  • Lesson 5: Rockin’ the World: Rock and Roll and Social Protest in 20th Century America
  • Lesson 6: Pink Floyd and the Carpe Diem Theme
  • Lesson 7: Using Rock to Teach Literary Devices: Jimi Hendrix “The Wind Cries Mary”
  • Lesson 8: Using Rock as Primary Source Material: Country Joe McDonald and the Fish “I-Feel-Like-I’m-Fixin’-to-Die-Rag”
  • Lesson 9: Woody Guthrie and The Grapes of Wrath
  • Lesson 10: Words/Music/Images: Interpretation and Meaning A Motivational Activity
  • Lesson 11: The Cigar Box Guitar
  • Lesson 12: The American Dream
  • Lesson 13: Marching to the Beat of a Different Drum
  • Lesson 14: Who Rocks Your World?
  • Lesson 15: You Don’t Know What You’ve Got Until It’s Gone: The Changing American Landscape
  • Lesson 16: Mending Walls: Barriers in Communications A Model Interdisciplinary Thematic Unit
  • Lesson 17: A Modest Proposal: Irony Made Understandable With Rock and Roll
  • Lesson 18: From Mark Twain to David Bowie: The Artistic Persona vs. The Individual
  • Lesson 19: Runaway Slaves
  • Lesson 20: Slices of American Pie: The 1960s Through Music
  • Lesson 21: Empathy and the Vietnam War
  • Lesson 22: And We Were All in One Place: Youth Culture and the Rock Festival
  • Lesson 23: Break on Through: The Poetry of Jim Morrison
  • Lesson 24: Warhol’s Foxy Lady: Pop Art
  • Lesson 25: Vietnam Revisited
  • Lesson 26: Individuality Vs. Social Responsibility: From Camus to the Cure
  • Lesson 27: I Went to the Crossroads: The Faust Theme in Music, Film and Literature
  • Lesson 28: The Electronic Hearth
  • Lesson 29: Know Thyself: Reflections of the Adolescent Identity Crisis in Rock and Roll
  • Lesson 30: Trouble for the United States in the Middle East: The Reagan-Bush Years
  • Lesson 31: Syncopation and Rhythm in Igor Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring and Rap Music
  • Lesson 32: The John Travolta Syndrome The Influence of Music and Film on Contemporary Fashion and Costume History
  • Lesson 33: 8-Rap
  • Lesson 34: “And Still I Rise” Proud Black Women: Understanding the poetry of Maya Angelou through the lyrics of two female rappers.
  • Lesson 35: The Melting of the Cold War
  • Lesson 36: Using Cross-Genre Comparisons to Find the Message in Hip-Hop
  • Lesson 37: Teaching “Lines Composed a Few Miles Above Tintern Abbey” with Popular Music
  • Lesson 38: Robert Plant and Jimmy Page, The Minstrels
  • Lesson 39: People Everyday: Introduction to Literary Analysis and Music Literacy
  • Lesson 40: Rock and Poetry: A Thematic Project
  • Lesson 41: Teaching Economics with Rock and Roll: Unemployment
  • Lesson 42: The Bill of Rights is a-Rockin’
  • Lesson 43: Screening Coleridge’s Fantasies: Using Popular Music as a Bridge to Literary Intepretation and Criticism
  • Lesson 44: Compositional Techniques: Are There Similarities Between
  • Lesson 45: Democracy...Not Yet!
  • Lesson 46: Feminism Does Not Have to Be an
  • Lesson 47: GET UP, STAND UP: Fighting for Rights Around the World
  • Lesson 48: Getting Inside The Outsiders Through Music
  • Lesson 49: Timbre: Identifying the Tone Color of the Saxophone
  • Lesson 50: Using Music to Teach Personal Narrative: “Snapshots” and “Crossing-the-Border” Songs
  • Lesson 51: Song Form: From the Red Hot Chili Peppers to Andrea Bocelli
  • Lesson 52: Scops, Rappers and You: Historians with Style!
  • Lesson 53: The War Collective, The War Individual


Additional Resources



I feel strongly that the Rock Hall Education Dept. makes teachers feel appreciated and take their role as educators seriously. In a world where “specials” are getting cut, you make us feel important and special.
- An anonymous participant
STI has changed my way of thinking about teaching. I’ve always been aware of the power of music when it comes to reaching students, but this has opened my eyes to the possibilities.
- An anonymous participant
Students love and respond to music they can relate to. If I am excited and educated about the artist/song/back story, etc. Students grab a hold of my excitement and want to learn more. STI invigorates and inspire me to continue to learn as much as I can about this important part of our culture and heritage.
- An anonymous participant