ALEX Lesson Plan


Memories of the Great Depression

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  This lesson provided by:  
Author:Susan Walton
System: Baldwin County
School: Elsanor School
  General Lesson Information  
Lesson Plan ID: 13246


Memories of the Great Depression


This hands-on lesson combines social studies, language arts, and technology. Fourth grade students begin by researching and collecting information from a variety of sources. Students develop an appreciation of the difficulties endured by many people during the era of the Great Depression.

 Associated Standards and Objectives 
Content Standard(s):
TC2 (3-5)
8. Collect information from a variety of digital sources.
Examples: online libraries, multimedia dictionaries
  • Using technology tools to organize information
  • Demonstrating efficient Internet search strategies
  • Example: keyword search
  • Evaluating electronic resources for reliability based on publication date, bias, accuracy, and source credibility
  • ELA2015 (4)
    14. Describe the overall structure (e.g., chronology, comparison, cause and effect, problem and solution) of events, ideas, concepts, or information in a text or part of a text. [RI.4.5]
    ELA2015 (4)
    35. Report on a topic or text, tell a story, or recount an experience in an organized manner, using appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details to support main ideas or themes; speak clearly at an understandable pace. [SL.4.4]
    SS2010 (4) Alabama Studies
    12. Explain the impact the 1920s and Great Depression had on different socioeconomic groups in Alabama.
    Examples: 1920s—increase in availability of electricity, employment opportunities, wages, products, consumption of goods and services; overproduction of goods; stock market crash
    Great Depression—overcropping of land, unemployment, poverty, establishment of new federal programs
  • Explaining how supply and demand impacted economies of Alabama and the United States during the 1920s and the Great Depression
  • Local/National Standards:


    Primary Learning Objective(s):

    Students will research what life was like during the Great Depression as described by individuals who lived during that era using the Internet, textbook, and interviews. Students will conduct an interview with a family member, neighbor, or community member who lived during the era and present an oral report based on the interview.

    Additional Learning Objective(s):

    Students will work cooperatively to compile their interviews into a class slideshow presentation.

     Preparation Information 

    Total Duration:

    Greater than 120 Minutes

    Materials and Resources:

    Current adopted Alabama history textbook, trade books depicting life during the era of the Great Depression

    Technology Resources Needed:

    Computers with Internet access, LCD projector, digital camera or a scanner, word processing software, presentation software


    The teacher should bookmark the websites listed in the procedure steps in order to provide easy access to appropriate information for students. The teacher will need to copy the slideshow template file to any computers the students will be using. Students should have a basic knowledge of presentation software.

    1.)Begin the lesson by asking students what they know about the Great Depression. Spend time discussing the Great Depression with students.
    Use the text, tradebooks, and the "I remember..." stories from related websites. Use the following websites to assist in learning more about The Great Depression:
    (American Memory, Library of Congress)
    This is a collection of authentic recollections by individuals who lived during the time of The Great Depression.

    (PBS Kids: The Great Depression in New York)
    This site has authentic recollections of the Great Depression.

    ("I remember")
    This site also has authentic recollections of the Great Depression.

    4.)Help students identify people who remember the time period of the 1930s-1940s. (Invite community members to visit the class and answer questions from students.) Work with students to develop interview questions. If possible, tape the interviews and, (with permission), have guests pose for snapshots with students.
    Sample Questions:
    1. How old are you?
    2. Do you remember the Great Depression?
    3. Where did you live during the Great Depression?
    4. How old were you during the Great Depression?
    5. How did you get to school or work during the Great Depression?
    6. Did you know anyone who lost their job during the Great Depression?
    7. Did you know anyone who worked for one of the federal programs like the Civilian Conservation Corps? If so, what did they do?
    8. Who was in your family then?
    9. What was the hardest part of living then for you?
    10. What did you usually eat during a day?
    11. What did you do for fun?
    12. What event or holiday from that time stands out in your memory?

    5.)Have students use the information they collected to prepare an oral report/presentation.
    They may choose information from any one person they interviewed (outside or in class interviews). Give students a copy of the oral presentation rubric to help them get an idea of what is expected of them.

    6.)Place students in small groups to prepare a slideshow presentation about the Great Depression. Have students use the attached template as a basis for their presentations.

    7.)Invite interviewees to visit the school to view the class presentations and enjoy light refreshments served by students.

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    Assessment Strategies

    The teacher will use the attached rubrics to evaluate the individual oral presentation and the group slideshow presentation.




    Students who need extra assistance can be paired/grouped with student(s) who can serve as peer tutors.

    Each area below is a direct link to general teaching strategies/classroom accommodations for students with identified learning and/or behavior problems such as: reading or math performance below grade level; test or classroom assignments/quizzes at a failing level; failure to complete assignments independently; difficulty with short-term memory, abstract concepts, staying on task, or following directions; poor peer interaction or temper tantrums, and other learning or behavior problems.

    Presentation of Material Environment
    Time Demands Materials
    Attention Using Groups and Peers
    Assisting the Reluctant Starter Dealing with Inappropriate Behavior
    Be sure to check the student's IEP for specific accommodations.