Dorothea Lange Lesson Plan

Instructor: Kristen Goode

Kristen has been an educator for 25+ years - as a classroom teacher, a school administrator, and a university instructor. She holds a doctorate in Education Leadership.

Dorothea Lange was an American photographer known for her iconic work during the Great Depression. In this lesson plan, students will learn more about Lange and complete an activity in which they imagine what it might have been like to live in her shoes.

Learning Objectives

By the conclusion of this lesson, students will:

  • Describe the work of Dorothea Lange
  • Create a journal to demonstrate an understanding of the Great Depression and what it might have been like to document the hardship of the people.

Length

At least 2 class periods

Curriculum Standards

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.6-8.7

Integrate visual information (e.g., in charts, graphs, photographs, videos, or maps) with other information in print and digital texts.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.6-8.2

Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary of the source distinct from prior knowledge or opinions.

Materials

  • Access to the lesson, Dorothea Lange: Biography, Photography & Migrant Mother
  • Access to the quiz
  • Printed copies of the lesson transcript (one for each student)
  • Writing materials (either pen/paper or computer access) for students
  • Misc. pictures taken of people during the Great Depression and/or Dust Bowl

Instructions

  • Begin by discussing the Great Depression and Dust Bowl.
    • Give a brief explanation about what both events were and how they affected America.
    • Identify the time period during which these events took place (primarily the 1930s).
  • Show some pictures of people during the Great Depression and/or Dust Bowl.
    • Talk about what the pictures show.
    • Talk about how the people in the pictures lived.
    • Talk about how the people might have been feeling (emotionally and physically).
    • Discuss what it would have been like to be a child growing up during this time period.
  • Next, give each student a printed copy of the lesson transcript.
  • Read through the lesson together, stopping occasionally to discuss:
    • Who was Dorothea Lange?
    • Describe her life.
    • What is a migrant?
    • What feelings do you experience when you look at Lange's most famous picture, ''Migrant Mother?''
    • Why do you think Dorothea Lange's work was so important?
  • At the conclusion of the lesson, be sure to answer any questions students might have about Lange and/or the time period during which she worked.
  • Check for understanding by administering the quiz.

Group Activity

To reinforce learning, use the following activity.

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