Teach PA History
The Pennsylvania Turnpike: Then and Now
What to Know
Teaching Time
2 50-minute sessions
Grade Level
Elementary School
  • Arts and Humanities
  • Economics
  • Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening
  • Geography
  • History
  • Science and Technology
Historical Period
  • Post-WWII Pennsylvania - 1946-1974
  • Contemporary Pennsylvania - 1975 to Present
Built in 1939 the Pennsylvania Turnpike epitomizes the shift from wartime to a peacetime economy in Pennsylvania. This lesson serves as a launching point for many issues of Post World War II, including increased mobilization and suburbanization, technological advances, and a changing economy. Students can make connections regarding Pennsylvania history, geography, and economics. By examining print media, they can glimpse the past in a context to which they can relate.


Students will be able to: 1. Analyze and discuss Pennsylvania Turnpike images from the past and present. 2. Discover the history of the Pennsylvania Turnpike and deduct its varied uses. 3. Analyze past and modern advertisements of the Pennsylvania Turnpike. 4. Create an advertisement that reflects their understanding of the history and uses of the Pennsylvania Turnpike.

Standards Alignment

  • Arts and Humanities

    9.4.8. A. Identify uses of expressive symbols that show philosophical meanings in works in the arts and humanities.

  • Economics

    6.2.3. K. Identify forms of advertising designed to influence personal choice.
    6.4.3. G. Identify local geographic patterns of economic activities (travel and tourism)

  • Geography

    7.1.6. B. Describe and locate places and regions.
    7.3.6.D. Describe the human characteristics of places and regions by their economic activities.

  • History

    8.1.6. A. Understand chronological thinking and distinguish between past, present, and future time.
    8.1.6. B. Explain and analyze historical sources.
    8.2.6. B. Identify and explain primary documents, material artifacts and historic sites important in Pennsylvania history from Beginnings to 1824
    8.2.6. C. Identify how continuity and change have influenced settlement patterns (e.g. Development of towns)

  • Reading, Writing, Speaking, and Listening

    1.1.5. A. Establish the purpose for reading a type of text (literature, information) before reading.
    1.1.5. G. Summarizes main ideas of the text
    1.2.5. A. Read and understand essential content of informational texts and documents in all academic areas.
    1.2.5. B. Use and understand a variety of media and evaluate the quality of material produced.
    1.6.5. F. Use media for learning purposes.

  • Science and Technology

    3.8.4. B. Know how human ingenuity and technological resources satisfy specific human needs and improve the quality of life.

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