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Great Depression Teaching Activities

Instructor: Elisha Madison

Elisha is a writer, editor, and aspiring novelist. She has a Master's degree in Ancient Celtic History & Mythology and another Masters in Museum Studies.

The Great Depression is still studied today to help explain economies and their weaknesses. This lesson provides activities for students of varying ages to help them understand this era and its effects.

The Great Depression

To this day, the Great Depression is still looked upon as the largest financial crisis in the United States. Millions of people were unemployed and the number of banks and companies that closed was unprecedented. This ten-year time period in history is an important topic of study to help students gain perspective on economic issues and their social implications.

The following mix of individual and group activities can be adapted to varying ages and will help you teach students about the economy, how it works, and what the world was like during the Great Depression.

Group Activities

Group activities are a fun way to get students engaged in a subject. They also create a collaborative environment where students can learn from each other by exploring differing ideas and viewpoints.

Fireside Chats

Roosevelt had radio times called ''fireside chats'' where he would discuss issues of the day, quell rumors, and share his policies and plans to combat the financial crisis that was the Great Depression. Provide a brief lesson on these chats and then break students into groups of 3-4. Ask them choose a crisis or important moment that happened during the Great Depression or assign one to them. Some example topics include the Dust Bowl, the Emergency Banking Act, the unemployment census and New Deal initiatives. Ask each group to create their own ''fireside chat'' and give it an original name. Each group should write a script and record their chat so that it can be played in class like a radio message. This peer learning experience will encourage collaboration, engagement, and creativity in the classroom.

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