Stock Market Crash Activities

Instructor: Matthew Hamel

Matt has degrees in Journalism and Business and has taught a variety of courses at high schools and universities around the world.

Do your students understand what would happen if the stock market crashed? Well, they will after you use the activities based on the stock market crash of 1929 outlined in this lesson.

The Market has Crashed!

The stock market crash of 1929 was a life changing economic, political, and social event for the United States and other countries around the world. The activities in this lesson are designed to help students develop a deeper understanding of the crash through engaging and informative activities.

Ideally, the following activities will be used to reinforce knowledge that students have already gained about the stock market crash. If you've just finished teaching a lesson or unit about the crash, a great way to introduce the activities in this lesson is to ask students to share some of their insights and opinions about the crash. You can ask these questions to get the conversation started:

  • What were some of the causes of the crash?
  • Who was affected by the crash?
  • What was the government response to the crash?
  • How did the U.S. get out of or recover from the crash?
  • What do you think would happen if a similar event occurred today?

Now that your students are in the right state of mind, dive into the following activities.

Read All About It!

At the time of the stock market crash in 1929, the majority of Americans got their news from the nation's newspapers. In this activity, pairs of students will try to create a few original headlines that convey the shocking news of the days surrounding the crash.

  • Put students into pairs.
  • Tell students to create and design two headlines.
    • One headline for Black Thursday (October 24th, 1929)
    • One headline for Black Tuesday (October 29, 1929)
  • The headlines the pairs create should be modeled after headlines at the time of the crash.
  • Have pairs write their headlines horizontally on blank, white paper. If desired, you can also ask the pairs to add a graphic or other image under the headline.
  • Finally, have each pair present their headlines to the class.
  • Have the class vote for the best headline for each day and award a prize to the winning pairs.

Act it Out

As the stock market crashed in October 1929, there were many different reactions. This activity will encourage students to put themselves in the shoes of those who experienced the crash.

  • Divide the class into small teams. If possible, make the teams a mix of students who are good performers and students who are good researchers and writers.
  • Task each team with creating a short (3-5-minute) skit about the stock market crash of 1929.
  • The skits should include a variety of characters and viewpoints about the crash and its aftermath. Possible characters could include:
    • Bankers
    • Big- and-small time investors who lost everything
    • Government officials
    • Newspaper reporters
    • Average people whose life savings were lost
  • When the skits are complete, have each team present theirs to the class.
  • If desired, you can have the class vote for the best skit and award a prize to the winning team.

To conclude the activity, have each team discuss how they chose characters and created dialogue to reflect the mood around the time of the crash and the consequences of the crash in the subsequent years.

Jobs for Everyone

After the stock market crash of 1929, many people lost their jobs and didn't know what to do for work. In this activity, students will create and try to sell job programs to the people.

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