Families Throughout the Decades–Magazine Project

Reading through some magazine publications such as Reminisce and Good Old Days gave me the idea for this project. Call me strange, but I love studying and learning about families throughout time. So, I thought it might be interesting for students to see how the family has evolved and changed throughout the decades.  While television gives us a glimpse into this via movies, documentaries and television shows, I thought creating a magazine would give them a chance to actually research history and practice their writing skills as they put together an issue focusing on the family during a specific decade. Not only does it help their writing skills, but this project is great for developing collaboration, communication and creativity skills as students complete this as a group!  Students think it’s pretty interesting to see all of the changes that have taken place with the family as they compare and contrast one decade to another!  Who knows, maybe your students will find this aspect of history pretty interesting too!


  • First, choose the decades you wish to have students research.  This will be up to you and your class sizes.  I chose to do six decades with groups of 3 students.  The decades I selected for my class were: 1910’s, 1930’s, 1950’s, 1970’s, 1990’s, 2010’s.
  • Print off pictures of families from different decades and place them in file folders in random order–enough for one folder per group. (I cut mine out of older issues of the aforementioned publications, due to copyright laws I cannot post them.) Students had to discuss what decade they believed each picture to be and place them in chronological order. We then discussed their timelines and date guesses to see how they did and the clues they used to process their order.
  • Students then randomly selected a date (one from the above list) to further research in order to complete the project. I just wrote the dates on slips of paper and placed them in a can for students to pull from.


  • iPads or Laptops
  • Copies of Reminisce or Good Old Days magazines (optional)
  • Big Huge Labs or Canva for Magazine Covers (optional)


  • I have a huge collection of the old Reminisce and Good Old Days magazines that I bring in so students can get an idea of how to set up and/or layout their magazine.  They can also look at the types of headlines, fonts, pictures, stories, recipes and advertisements to get ideas.
  • Students will create their magazine issue using Google Docs or Slides so they will need to choose a leader to invite other group members.  Students will also need to discuss who will complete each part of the project and be in communication with each other as to the set up and order of the magazine.
  • While students don’t need to create their covers using the Big Huge Labs or Canva, I do suggest them as they do have awesome templates available for creating magazine covers. There are other magazine templates available, students just have to search for them.
  • Students can use any reliable source or interview with a family member for their information as long as they can document all of their sources.
  • When magazines are complete, students share them with the class.  Students write general notes about the family for each decade and then complete the reflection prompts found below.



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