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.


At least 2 class periods

Curriculum Standards


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


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.


  • 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


  • 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.

To unlock this lesson you must be a Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use

Become a member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about
Try it now

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 220 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Used by over 30 million students worldwide
Create an account