1. First, you will be assigned to a team of 4 students. Your team will be assigned certain years from the song to research.

2. Within your team, each person will assume one of the following roles:

Culture Reporter

Your job, as the Culture Reporter, is to research and analyze those items within your assigned year(s) that apply to culture. This would include sports, entertainment, literature or any other topic that is not politically-oriented.

Political Reporter

Your job, as the Political Reporter, is to research and analyze those items within your assigned year(s) that apply to politics and government. This would include leaders of countries, wars, political events or any other topic that is politically-oriented.

Geography Reporter

Your job, as the Geography Reporter, is to plot on a map the location of items from your group's assigned year(s). Your role is similar to a weather reporter, but you give locations of events/people and describe appropriate geographical features of the time or place. During the presentation you will be expected to use maps to show locations and pictures to show the geographically important features. HERE are some maps to get you started.

Fire Tracker

Your job, as the Fire Tracker, is to decide why Billy Joel chose to include each item from your group's year(s) as a contributor to the "fire". You must analyze the facts your group has gathered about your items and determine what makes them significant, especially to our lives today.

3. Once you have picked a role to play, you will begin your research. You will have three days for computer research. The Culture Reporter and Political Reporter will need to work together to determine who needs to research what. The following links in from the lyrics of the song will function as your starting point.(Remember that any information you retrieve must be referenced and you may NOT use Wikipedia as a source.)


1949, 1950, 1951, 1952, 1953, 1954, 1955, 1956, 1957, 1958, 1959, 1960, 1961, 1962, 19631964 -1989

Harry Truman, Doris Day, Red China, Johnnie Ray, 
South Pacific, Walter Winchell, Joe Dimaggio,

Joe McCarthy, Richard Nixon, Studebaker, Television,
North Korea, South Korea, Marilyn Monroe,

Rosenbergs, H-Bomb, Sugar Ray, Panmunjom,
Brando, The King and I, and The Catcher in the Rye,

Eisenhower, Vaccine, England's got a new Queen,
Marciano, Liberace, Santayanna good-bye.

We didn't start the fire
It was always burning,
Since the world's been turning.
We didn't start the fire
Well, we didn't light it,
But we tried to fight it.

Joseph Stalin, Malenkov, Nasser, and Prokofiev,
Rockefeller, Campanella, Communist bloc

Roy Cohn, Juan Peron, ToscaniniDacron,
Dien Bien Phu falls, Rock Around the Clock

Einstein, James Dean, Brooklyn's got a winning team,
Davy Crockett, Peter Pan, Elvis Presley, Disneyland

Bardot, Budapest, Alabama, Krushchev,
Princess Grace, Peyton Place, Trouble in the Suez


Little Rock, Pasternak, Mickey Mantle, Kerouac,
Sputnik, Zhou En-LaiBridge on the River Kwai

Lebanon, Charles de Gaulle, California baseball,
Starkweather homicide, Children of Thalidomide

Buddy Holly, Ben Hur, space monkey, mafia,
Hula HoopsCastro, Edsel is a no go

U-2, Syngman Rhee, Payola, and Kennedy,
Chubby Checker, Psycho, Belgians in the Congo


Hemingway, Eichmann, Stranger in a Strange Land,
Dylan, Berlin, Bay of Pigs Invasion

Lawrence of Arabia, British Beatlemania,
Ole Miss, John Glenn, Liston beats Patterson


Pope Paul, Malcolm X, British politician sex,
JFK blown away , What else do I have to say?


1964 to 1989
Birth control, Ho Chi Minh, Richard Nixon back again,
Moon shot, Woodstock, Watergate, punk rock,
Begin, Reagan, Palestine, terror on the airlines,
Ayatollah's in Iran, Russians in Afghanistan,
Wheel of Fortune, Sally Ride, heavy metal suicide - (or optional link)
Foreign debts, homeless vets, AIDS, crack, Bernie Goetz,
Hypodermics on the shore, China's under martial law,
Rock and roller cola wars, I can't take it anymore!

We didn't start the fire
It was always burning,
Since the world's been turning.
We didn't start the fire
But when we are gone
It will still burn on and on and on and on.....

4. If you still need information on your items, do a search on using your preferred search engine. (i.e. GoogleBingAltavista, Dogpile, or Yahoo )

5. Once your research is completed, your team will begin working on the presentation. You will have two (2) days to work on your presentation. You will need to present your information in the style of a television news program. During your presentation,you will follow the order that is listed in the role descriptions. Your presentation will need to be 10-15 minutes long. You will be expected to use the technology available to you in the classroom (i.e. Smartboard, PowerPoint, Qwizdom etc.). Your group can do a video on your own time, if you choose, and then show it to the class. A video is NOT required however and it will not affect your grade for better or for worse.

6. After completion of the presentations you will answer some concluding/reflective questions in paragraph form. You can download and print the questions now as a Word document by clicking HERE. You will be given two class periods to answer the questions. (This will count as a test grade.)