At a House Subdivided 1950 - 1990

Teachers Level Three

Learning Goals and Objectives--Grades 9 - 12

Voices and Choices--Arthur Turner
Note: It is a good idea to print Level Three for easy reference.

Voices and Choices

Arthur Turner is a successful Chicagoan who has decided to move his family of three from their modest apartment above his wife's clothing store to larger quarters. He is choosing between restoring an old Victorian mansion in his neighborhood or moving his family to the suburbs.


These themes can be explored with either a social studies or language arts curriculum. Use these themes to tie in other resources to your class discussion, i.e., other books, other cultures, students' own lives.


What do you think?

These questions, which come at the end of each story (minus "the answer"), can be used to start class discussions or be assigned as homework.

According to Arthur Turner, why do people leave the city for the suburbs?

According to Arthur Turner, people who can afford a home in the suburbs are moving because they feel that the schools and services are better and that they don't have to worry as much about crime.

Would you prefer to live in a city, the suburbs, or a rural community? Why?

You might take a poll to see which living space is most popular among students. Ask students to list aspects of the urban lifestyle, the suburban lifestyle, and the rural lifestyle.

From your perspective, what are the pros and cons of moving from a city like Chicago to the suburbs? Would you prefer to live in a city or the suburbs? Why?

Public schools and services may be better in the suburbs and crime may be less apparent. There are disadvantages to leaving a city. One has less exposure to people from different ethnic backgrounds in suburbs, which can become enclaves of only one or two races. Living in the suburbs one is dependent on a car for daily activities whereas most cities have public transportation. Suburbs may lack the history and vitality of city neighborhoods.

How many times have you moved in your lifetime?

Some students may have moved many times and others few. You may have the rare student who grows up in the same house as their mother or father. You might discuss with students how mobile our society is with regard to other countries where families live in the same area for generations.

Do you have a sense of roots or a commitment to a place? Where is this place?

Help students identify what rootedness means to them. To feel rooted is important for the growth of the ego. Rootedness doesn't necessarily have to be associated with a physical place. Some students may feel a sense of rootedness through music, art, or being with a certain group of friends or family members.

If you moved away, list several things that you would miss about your home and neighborhood.

To help students with this question, ask them to imagine leaving their home for a new place. What would they remember about their home? How would their daily routine change?

Do you think you will own a home one day? Why or why not? And would you consider "urban homesteading" in Chicago or in another city like Chicago?

Answers to this question will vary widely depending on where your school is located and if you live in a rural or urban community.



These are suggested classroom activities and student projects that you may want to use with your students or as models to create your own.

1. Oral interviews

The purpose of this interview is to compare and contrast the experiences of living in the city vs. living in the suburbs.

Think of friends or relatives that you know who have lived in either the city or the suburbs. You may have classmates who live in the city or the suburbs, depending on where your school is located.

Ask the person you are interviewing the following kinds of questions:

Make sure you take notes during your interview. You may even want to record the interview using a tape recorder. Notes or a tape recording will give you a "record" of your subject's memories and thoughts. Your subject is the person you have interviewed.

2. Creating A Class Exhibit: The Teenager's Room

As a class, collaborate and invent what you think is representative of the typical teenager's room. Design an exhibit space based on this room, and invite other classes to come and view it.

Individual preparation: As a class:

As you prepare to assemble your exhibit, make a check list of the different components in an exhibit. You can use this website for ideas or visit a museum near your school.

Other exhibit ideas:

3. Completing the Timeline

Write a timeline from 1990 to the present. In your timeline, don't forget to include:

Create a specialized timeline that relates to your specific interests--arts & entertainment, music, sports, politics, economics, social affairs, international affairs, religion,...etc.


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