This lesson plan adheres to New York State Learning Standard 5- Civics, Citizenship, and Government, Elementary Level, Key Idea #1. Additionally, this lesson plan corresponds with the National Social Studies Curriculum Standards thematic strand of power, authority, and governance.
Ask students what problems children face today. Ask students how the government tries to help people with these problems. Have students draw a line down the middle of a piece of paper, making two columns. Students label the left hand column “problems today” and list problems discussed down the column.
Students will be able to analyze primary sources (photographs and letters) for evidence of difficulties children faced during the Great Depression.
This lesson focuses on the responsibilities of American Government. Specifically, it can be utilized to illustrate the basic purpose of government; to protect individual rights and promote the common good.
Essential Information - The Great Depression weakened family life in the United States. Some Fathers could no longer feed their families and they actually left their homes. By 1940, over 1.5 million men had left their wives. Families learned that survival sometimes depended on assistance from the government.
Activities - After students list “problems today” instruct them to label the right hand column “problems during the Great Depression”. Utilize the images from the Great Depression Discovery Kit to illustrate living conditions for students. Utilize the Federal Writer’s Project website, (http://rs6.loc.gov/wpaintro/wpahome.html), for first hand accounts of the Great Depression. Students fill in the “problems during the Great Depression” column while viewing the images and visiting the website. Next to each problem discuss with students how the United States Government helps citizens, both then and now.
Strategies - The Federal Writer’s Project website also has an audio feature. Play some of their recordings to students while viewing the Discovery Kit images.
Discuss what problems your generation faced as children.
CHECK FOR UNDERSTANDING
Students hand in their lists for a grade.
Monitor student work answering questions throughout.
Discuss with students what they think future generations may have difficulty with and why.