1. Distribute Handout 1: Growing Up in Liverpool. Instruct students to complete the questions on the handout during the discussion.
2. Display a map of the world on a projector or Smartboard. (If these are not available, you may wish to duplicate printouts of maps and distribute them to students.) Ask students to locate Great Britain and the United States on the map.
3. In a similar fashion, display the two maps (one and two) that include Liverpool. If Google Earth or Google Maps is readily available, you may wish to use one to slowly zoom in and out of the city.
4. Discuss the following questions, reminding students to take notes on the handout:
- How would you describe Liverpool’s geography, particularly in terms of river and sea access?
- Why do you think Liverpool was a major trade city?
- How does trade impact a city? (Students may consider economic growth or the city as a strategic bombing target in a time of war.)
- What kinds of items do you think might have been shipped into and out of Liverpool during World War II?
- How might Liverpool’s status as a port city have affected what happened to it during World War II? How might the experience of American cities during World War II have been different?
5. Ask students how living in a port city might have affected the things residents were able to buy in an era before air travel and shipping were commonplace. Would they have been exposed to new things before others living inland?
6. Ask students to define the term “cultural diffusion.” If students have not encountered this term in prior studies, the instructor should define it as the spread of culture from one geographic location to another.
7. Ask students to imagine they have been hired to help one of the Beatles write his autobiography. They have been assigned to work specifically on the chapter discussing the way growing up in Liverpool influenced their Beatle as a young man. They will work in small groups and use their newfound knowledge of history and geography to help their Beatle enrich his book.
8. Divide students into six groups of no more than four students each. If the class is large, create duplicate groups.
9. Distribute Handout 2: The Autobiography of a Beatle. Distribute the handouts for Group 1, Group 2, Group 3 (Required video: Gerry Marsden on “American Music Brought to Liverpool,” the Beatles performing “Maxwell’s Silver Hammer,” George Formby performing “Leaning on a Lamp Post“), Group 4, Group 5 (Required video: “Cunard Yanks,” Gerry Marsden on “American Music Brought to Liverpool“), and Group 6 (Required video: “Wabash Cannonball,” Gerry Marsden on Skiffle, Graham Nash on Skiffle). These contain source materials for each group’s section of the autobiography, including photographs, quotations, and videos. Be sure to assemble all the materials, including a video station, prior to the start of the lesson.
10. Instruct each group to read the directions on its handout and complete the activity as directed. You can collect the sections and compile a complete autobiography; alternatively, students could collaborate online to share their biographies, creating one complete autobiography per class. (If your school does not provide its own platform for a class website, many are available on the Internet, such as a shared Google document or a blog site).