5th Grade: Standing Up for Equality, Justice, and Freedom in 20th Century America



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The Great Depression

A Unit for the Fifth Grade



I. Unit Topic and Strategy Background

IA.

5th Grade: Standing Up for Equality, Justice, and Freedom in 20th Century America
5th Grade—Unit 1: Facing Economic Inequality: America Reacts to the Depression

  • Causes and Results of Depression

  • Ways of Life During the Depression

  • The Role of the Government in Economic Recovery

  • Champaign-Urbana and Illinois during the Depression


Students will inquire about…

  • The concept of an economic “depression”

  • The causes and results of the Great Depression, of other depressions in U.S. History (Panic of 1819, 1839 Depression, Panic of 1873, 1893 Depression) and of depressions across the world

  • The ways in which different groups and individuals (of different ethnic/cultural groups, socio-economic levels, regions, etc.) were affected by and responded to the Depression

  • What it was like to be a child during the Depression

  • How people cope when they have to survive with a sudden and extended loss of money and material possessions—in the 1930’s, in their lives, and in the world today

  • How governments attempt to bring about economic recovery and prosperity—in the 1930’s, today, and across the world

  • What life was like in Champaign-Urbana and Illinois during the Depression


Students will take action…


IB Background Information on Unit Topic Connection with Students’ Lives

This unit was created with a conscience effort of incorporating aspects of students’ lives and the surrounding Champaign community. Each lesson uses the past to illuminate the present and the present to illuminate the past. Students find that history is not “dead facts” or a discipline that lives in isolation; rather, the past, present, and future are intertwined and constantly influencing each other. The two primary vehicles to accomplish the illumination of history for this unit is the utilization of the community and primary sources from the era of the Great Depression.

The first and second lessons introduce primary sources to students. In particular, students examine photographs (that will be further discussed in the final assessment of the unit) and journals (the on going assessment of the unit). Since the journals are written from a first person perspective, this helps students visualize themselves in time period of the Great Depression. The journal serves as a record of student learning through out the unit and becomes a product students should take pride in. Students look at photographs to initiate curiosity in the unit to come. Students then transfer the idea of using photographs to document history to the present when they create their own photo essays.

The third lesson addresses how families deal with the sudden loss of income during the Great Depression and how this still happens in the present. Students begin by creating budgets with a set weekly wage for an assigned profession before and after the Great Depression. They are presented with an inventory of common household and food items and their prices during the 1930s to gain an understanding the cost of wants and needs. This activity is connected to student lives when they have to go home and write everything they use in one day. These items are divided into “needs” and “wants”. Student must then make choices and rank their lists of items. They must also write justifications for their choices. Students that are faced with making personal choices and prioritizing their needs and wants will relate to the struggles of people during the Great Depression.

The fourth lesson studies the local bank reaction to the stock market crash. Champaign reacted to the crisis by printing their own money. Students will see copies of these Champaign dollars and connect the panic of the sudden loss of financial stability caused a strong degree of unrest and anxiety in their own community. Students will take that information and create their own system of money and write a persuasive paper to encourage community members to use their money.

The fifth lesson compares Franklin D. Roosevelt’s first fireside chat to a contemporary speech of President Bush. Students initially write in their journals about what they want to hear from a president during a time of crisis such as the stock market crash. This is followed by a reading of the Fireside Chat that students will listen for verification or disregard for what they wanted to hear. Students link the Fireside Chat to a more recent speech by President Bush regarding September 11th. They study the speeches for commonalities and differences to draw their own conclusions about the role of the president in national time of crisis regardless of historical era.

The sixth lesson studies the roles of the government with the New Deal in creating the CCC to help people cope with the Great Depression. Students make the connection that just as there was a government reaction to help the people during recent events like 9/11, there was a government response of a similar nature to the Great Depression. They examine local events such as the creation of buildings and roads as well as how they view these programs in relation to the current day government programs like welfare.

The final lesson has student seek out and compile their own primary sources of pictures or photographs to determine if their community is in a depression, boom, or combination of the two. After studying the Farm Security Administration’s Photography Project, students are “commissioned” by their teacher to document their community. Students are to take pictures or cut them out from magazines and newspapers and assemble them into a photo essay with a rationale. This application of primary sources, historical understanding of the Great Depression, and community inquiry helps students create understanding of how history is a dynamic entity that permeates their communities and daily lives.

While the Great Depression may initially appear to be a relic of American history to fifth graders, they come to realize that depressions and the elements associated with it know no historical bounds. During this unit students are constantly drawing connections between history, their communities, and their personal lives. The end result will be an illumination of the past to the present and the present to the past for students.

Teacher Perspectives

When three fifth grade teachers were asked their opinions about teaching the Great Depression to their students, they gave varying responses. A teacher in the Champaign School District believed that students should definitely be taught this topic, especially since it can be traced back to their community and how it personally handled the crisis. He also remarked that the introduction of primary sources would benefit students in the long run, considering most of the older students in the District are unfamiliar with them.

A teacher in a rural School District, agreed with the Unit 4 teacher. When first asked if the Great Depression should be taught during fifth grade, she remarked, “We teach it, so yes, it should be taught. It also leads into World War II and its causes, so this topic should definitely be addressed.” Overall, she did not see any issues that would arise in the presentation of this topic.

Opposing the previous two teachers was Joel another teacher in the Champaign School District. He thought that the general topic of the Depression might be difficult for children to understand, especially from the economic standpoint. He also was not sure about bringing other countries and their depressions into the unit, because he thought that veering off of the central topic of the United State’s depression would confuse the students. Lastly, he brought forth a concern about having lessons that asked children to address economic hardship. He feels that it would hit too close to home with the students whose families struggle economically.


IC Background information on Unit Topic

1929 – Plunge in the stock market marks the start of the Great Depression.

1932 – Franklin D. Roosevelt is elected President.

1933 – Economic hard times in lead to the rise of a dictator in Germany.

- The CCC was created as part of the New Deal

1935 – The government sets up the WPA to create jobs for people in the arts as well as laborers.

1939 – World War II begins in Europe.
Some important information that has also taken place during this time is FDR actually had the first woman in his cabinet when he appointed Frances Perkins as the Secretary of Labor. While she was head of the New York State Industrial board she won a reduction of the work week for women in New York from 54 to 48 hours a week. One of the benefits of the New Deal programs was in the WPA when writers would actually interview former slaves and earned many personal narratives about what happened during that time. This created important perspectives and information that historians commonly use even today.

Many women protested the New Deal programs because they were eligible only to men. This created a problem for women who were the sole supporters of their families as well as single women. Neither were typically allowed to work for these programs.

During the 1930s only about 200,000 African-Americans were part of the CCC because applications were selected by state and local relief agencies and they chose not to allow African-Americans into the organization. During this time African-Americans were also typically the first to loose their jobs and sometimes also refused help from charities or threatened when they tried to sign up for work.

FDR reached out to the African-American population by calling on black leaders to come to the White House and advise him on policies. Eventually this group became known as the “Black Cabinet”. FDR did refuse to support an anti-lynching law because that would cause him to loose support from southern Congressmen.

Mexican-Americans also faced much discrimination. By this time many were living in the cities but also worked primarily as farm workers. This was encouraged during prosperous times but when the Depression hit more than 400,000 Mexicans were rounded up and sent to Mexico even though some of them had been born and raised in the United States. Many times the ones that were here were also denied education because if they were well educated the farmers would loose their cheap labor. Cesar Chavez, an important supporter of equal rights for migrant workers was growing up during this time and faced much prejudice such as not being served in restaurants, and having a bank not approve loans for his family and take land. This stayed with him and fueled his later movement.

Asian-Americans were also often denied various public services such as haircuts, the ability to enter restaurants, and other public services. They often had to compete with each other for jobs. During this time the government limited the number of Asians that could enter the country and in 1935, FDR signed the Repatriation Act which offered to pay for Filipinos to return to the Philippines if they did not come back.

During this time Congress passed a series of laws to give Native Americans more control over their own affairs. Eventually the ended the practice of breaking up their lands and even passed an act to protect their land holdings. They also supported Native Americans right to live by their own customs. They were eventually allowed to create their own corporations and economic projects. They also created a work program for the Native Americans that typically dealt with cultivating land and a program to encourage them to sell Native American art.

ID Background Information on instructional strategies

Brief description of the instructional strategies:

As pre-service teachers studying at the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign, a great deal our course work is dedicated towards educating university students about the wide range of instructional strategies that can be used within the classroom environment. The top ten instructional strategies listed below were discovered within our university course work and practicum experiences. The instructional strategies that have been strategically selected are all quite generic in nature and can be modified and adapted to suit the needs of the children within the classroom context and the topic under investigation.



Ten most engaging instructional strategies:

  1. Role Plays

Role plays are a learning activity in which participants play out roles in a simulated situation. They allow participants to experience a real-life situation and provide them with an understanding of a particular satiation. Role plays provide a highly motivational climate because participants are actively involved in a realistic situation.

  1. Grand Discussion

Is large whole class discussion, in which all the students participate. The teacher’s role within the discussion is to act as the facilitator and must pose questions and facilitate the students’ discussion when necessary.

  1. Graphic Organizers

Graphic organizers help students construct meaning and assist in comprehension. They are designed to help convert and compress information into a structured, simple-to-read, graphic display.

  1. Web Quests

A Web Quest is an inquiry-oriented activity in which most or all of the information used by learners is drawn from the Web. Web Quests are designed to use learners' time well, to focus on using information rather than looking for it, and to support learners' thinking at the levels of analysis, synthesis and evaluation.

  1. Co-operative Learning

Cooperative Learning involves small teams of students (each with students of different levels of ability) using a variety of learning activities to improve their understanding of a subject. Each member within a team is responsible for learning what is taught and also for helping their teammates learn. Students work through the assignment until the entire group successfully understands the topic being studied and have completed their work. 

  1. Fish Bowl Conversation

The Fish Bowl Conversation involves participation on behalf of the entire class. The focus of the discussion that occurs within the fish bowl has to relate directly to the content area of the course. The fish bowl is comprised of 5-7 students whom are the discussion panel and the rest of the students are to serve as observers and recorders.

  1. SQ3R

SQ3R is a five-step study plan to help students construct meaning while reading. It uses the elements of questioning, predicting, setting a purpose for reading, and monitoring for confusion. SQ3R includes the following steps: survey, question, read, recite and review.

  1. Pyramid Summary

The pyramid strategy assists student’s comprehension and makes use of the slip writing strategy. A Pyramid Summary is constructed in the shape of a pyramid and as the lines descend, the amount of words that are allowed to be placed on each line increase. Each line within the pyramid is accompanied with a focus question which allows the student to organize their thoughts and aids comprehension e.g. ‘Where did the events take place?’

  1. Reciprocal Teaching

Reciprocal teaching is an instructional activity that takes place in the form of a dialogue between teachers and students regarding segments of text. The dialogue is structured by the use of four strategies: summarizing, question generating, clarifying, and predicting. The teacher and students take turns assuming the role of teacher in leading this dialogue.

  1. Readers Theater

Readers Theatre enables students to bring a text to life and requires the students to create a powerful interpretation. It is a joint dramatic reading from a text, usually with no memorization, no movement and a minimum of props.

In depth description and analysis of two strategies:

Graphic Organizers:

Graphic Organizers are used to help students arrange information by utilizing the most important aspects and concepts of a topic into an organized visual representation. They can be used to structure writing projects, to help in problem solving, decision making, studying, planning research and brainstorming. Graphic organizers are a valuable tool that can be integrated throughout an entire unit. When utilizing graphic organizers, one must not make the presumption that they can only be used at the beginning of a unit/lesson. Graphic organizers can also be used at end as a means of summarizing, reflecting and making connections between the information that the students had just learnt.

The process of creating a graphic organizer and converting information into a graphic map is quite involved and requires the students to critically think about the information being studied. To create the map, the student must concentrate on the relationships between the items and examine the meanings attached to each of them. While creating a map, the student must also prioritize the information determine which parts of the material are the most important, what should be focused upon, and identify where each item should be placed in the map. This involved process assists in increasing the learners understanding, fostering recall and allows them to gain insight into the topic under investigation.

Research shows that graphic organizers are particularly useful with young students or second-language beginners. This is because they display ideas concretely using a limited number of words. For bilingual and second-language learners they are a tool for scaffolding knowledge and increasing vocabulary (Brisk, 2000). Graphic organizers are also known to help relieve learner boredom, enhance recall, provide motivation, create interest, clarify information, assist in organizing thoughts and promote understanding (International Reading association, 2005).

Role Plays:

Role plays are a very flexible and effective tool, which utilizes drama in learning and development. In role plays participants play out roles in a simulated situation and are required to project themselves onto a sometimes unfamiliar imaginary situation. Role Plays allow participants to experience a real-life situation and provide them with insight into a person or situation (The Teaching and Learning Guide, 2005). Due to this realistic simulation a highly motivational climate is consequently created. Role-playing enables students to express and to examine their attitudes, beliefs, and feelings about prejudice and discrimination. Poetry, biography, and powerful fiction are excellent sources for both discussion and role-playing (Education Place, 2005).

If used inappropriately, role plays can be ineffective and sometimes even damaging to students. This is due to the fact that some of the subjects and issues that are addressed in role plays have the potential to disturb or upset some students. One of the main complicating factors surrounding role play is the attitude or emotional state of the people taking part. Many people are often nervous and/or terrified at the prospect of participating in a role play. Therefore, it is vital for teachers to exercise caution and sensitivity and take into consideration the potentially harmful factors that may occur when incorporating role plays into the learning environment.

In order to incorporate role plays into the learning environment successfully there are a several general guideline that one must take into consideration; role plays must be focused; the objectives must be clear and understood; instructions must be clear and understood; feedback needs to be specific, relevant, achievable and given immediately (Education Place, 2005).
References

Brisk, M. E, & Harrington, M. M. (1999). Literacy and Bilingualism: A Handbook for All Teachers. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.


Scaffolding Comprehension Strategies using Graphic Organizers. Retrieved November 27, 2005 from the International Reading Association.

Website: http://www.readwritethink.org/lessons/lesson_view.asp?id=95


Strategies to Support Multicultural Education. Retrieved November 27, 2005. Education Place.

Website: http://www.eduplace.com/rdg/res/literacy/multi2.html


Instructional Strategies. Retrieved November 27, 2005 from The Teaching and Learning Guide.

Website: http://www.usask.ca/tlc/teaching_guide/utl_instructional_strategy.html#other



II RESOURCE REVIEW

IIA. General Resource Review
Booth, D. (1997). The Dust Bowl. Hong Kong: Kids an Press Ltd.

This is a picture book that illustrates the typical story of a family struggling during the depression through a flashback told by a grandfather. It connects to the children’s lives with the moral that “we will get through it.”


Britten, L., & Brash, S. (1998). Hard Times: The 30s. USA: Time Life Books.

This book is a collection of primary sources, including photographs, quotations, and advertisements. It is mostly appropriate for teacher use, however the teacher can select primary sources that could be used with the students during the unit.


Coombs, K. (2000). Children of the Dust Days. Minneapolis, Minnesota: Carolrhoda Books, Inc.

This book is a collection of photographs from the depression. Each picture is captioned in a language similar to the main text of the book: child friendly.


Cooper, M. (2001). Dust to Eat: Drought and Depression in the 1930s. USA: University of Oklahoma Press.

This book is a non-fictional account of the Great Depression. The text is accessible to older students (middle school) although it is not very visually appealing. It includes primary sources such as photographs and songs.


Downey, M., et al. (ed). Volume III: The Great Depression and World War II. New York: Macmillan Publishing Company.

This book would be appropriate (if a time consuming way) for the teacher to use to gain more background knowledge about the Great Depression prior to beginning a unit.


Durbin, W. (2002) A Dear America Book: The Journal of CJ Jackson: A Dust Bowl Migrant. USA: Scholastic.

This is a fictional book from the point of view of a young adolescent boy that tells the story of his family’s trials during the Dust Bowl. The events and the attitudes portrayed in the book seem to be accurate, but the book is written in journal format, although it is fictional.

Farm Security Administration-Office of War Information Collection

http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/fsahtml/fahome.html

The Library of Congress has hundreds of FSA photos from the Great Depression for public use available online through this website. Users may search the site by subject, creator, and geographic location. This website has the most extensive collection of online photography of the Great Depression and a resource that teachers should not pass up when teaching a unit on this period of American history.
Freeman, C. (1990). Portrait of a Decade: The 1930’s. Great Britain: B.T. Batsford, LTD.

This book has newspaper headlines about every year of the decade. The information is interesting because it actually includes excerpts from the newspapers of the times.


Gilbert, M. (1997). A History of the Twentieth Century: Volume 1: 1900-1930s. USA: Harper Collins Publishers.

This book and the following book of the series would serve as good books to providing background information for teachers before they begin a unit on this topic.


Hesse, K. (1997). Out of the Dust. USA: Scholastic Signature.

This is a fiction book that is a collection of poetry written from the point of view of a young teenage girl living during the Dust Bowl. The story narrates what happens to her family. It touches on important government actions and other attitudes during the Great Depression, but the actual story is fictional, so the references are creative and interesting, but not very informative.


Lied, K. (1997). Potato: A Tale from the Great Depression. Washington, D. C.: National Geographic Society.

This is a picture book for younger children. It simply illustrates how a family had to move in order to find work that only lasted for two weeks.


Luurtsema, T. (2001). Prices of the Era. Retrieved November 10th, 2005, from http://www.mcsc.k12.in.us/mhs/social/madedo/pri32-33.htm

This web page came from a project that high school students from Mooresville, Indiana put together concerning the Great Depression. The page lists prices for food, appliances, clothes, etc from the years 1932-1933. I found the list of items and their prices to be in depth, well done, and nicely organized. It is a fantastic resource for teaching students about the effects of the Depression.


McElvaine, R.S. (1999). Depression and the new deal: a history in documents, Oxford University Press, New York.

This text is a fantastic resource that provides teachers with an abundant range of primary resources which could be applied to any year level. The Depression and the New Deal is a collection of primary sources that document the American Great depression. The documents featured within in the text look at the Great Depression using a variety of forms. These include radio announcements, speeches, newspaper editorials, photographs, interviews, memoirs. A diverse range of perspectives are used within the book this allows students to gain a more accurate and authentic understanding of history.


Meltzer, M. (2000) Great Journeys: Driven From the Land: The Story of the Dust Bowl. New York: Benchmark Books.

This book uses a variety of primary sources, including pictures, advertisements, songs and others to create a detailed description of the Great Depression. It also often describes the photographers and their talents and other jobs.


Michigan Historical Center. (2005). Then and Now: Prices. Retrieved October 27th, 2005, from http://www.michigan.gov/hal/0,1607,7-160-15481_19268_20778-52530--,00.html

The state of Michigan put together this great website that includes many historical facts and activities. This particular web page conveniently lists salaries and prices for certain goods back in the 1930’s and asks students to compare them to today. I found their listing of items to not be extensive enough for a student to be able to fully grasp the prices of food, clothing, appliances, etc. However, the information that was provided was laid out in a clear-cut manner that was easy to follow.


Mulvey, D. (ed). (1992). We Had Everything But Money. USA: Reiman Publications, L.P.

This book is completely compiled of primary sources. The vast majority of these primary sources manage to find positive aspects in life during the Great Depression. This book is more appropriate for the teacher, but parts of the primary sources could be adapted or excepted for the students to analyze.


Ruggiero, A. (2005). American Voices From: The Great Depression. China: Benchmark Books: Marshall Cavandish Coorporation.

This book begins with an introduction to primary sources. The text is accessible to fifth graders, although some teacher scaffolding would be necessary. The majority of the text is author explanation, although there are primary sources included, such as photographs and cartoons.


Ruth, A. (2003). Growing Up In The Great Depression. Minneapolis, Minnesota: Learner Publications Company.

This book provides excerpts from primary sources that describe how children lived during the depression. It is written in kid-friendly language and separated into sections based on the topic.


Schraff, A. (1990). The Great Depression and the New Deal: America’s Economic Collapse and Recovery. New York: Franklin Watts: A Twentieth Century American History Book.

“Discusses the devastating effect of the 1929 stock market crash on American economy and Franklin D. Roosevelt’s programs to restore the nation’s financial health.”


Stanley, J. (1992). Children of the Dust Bowl: The True Story of the School at Weedpatch Camp. New York: Random House: Crown Publishers.

“Describes the plight of the migrant workers who traveled from the Dust Bowl to California during the Depression and were forced to live in a federal labor camp and discusses the school that was built for their children.” A book for children that is made up of photographs and text explaining the history. The text is more advanced and therefore requires more capable readers.

Tamas, R. (1991). A Picture History of the 20th Century: The 1930s. New York: Franklin Watts Inc.

This book contains primary sources from the 1030s, including pictures, cartoons and explanations about major occurrences in the 1930s. There is not much specific information about eh Great Depression.


The University of Pittsburg Press. (1999). The Great Depression: Cost of Living. Retrieved October 27th, 2005, from http://www.pitt.edu/~press/goldentrianglebooks/costs.html

This website is where the idea for the lesson about the cost of living came from. The lesson is actually meant to accompany the book, Duffy’s Rocks, and it asks students to create their own budgets. The lesson, though, is vague and it is not complete by any means. However, it gives three wonderful web pages as resources for other activities, prices for goods in the 1930’s compared to now, and information about many aspects of the New Deal.


Turner, A. (1995) Dust For Dinner. USA: HarperCollins Publishers.

“Jake narrates the story of his family’s life in the Oklahoma dust bowl and the journey from their ravaged farm to California during the Great Depression.” This book is for beginning readers, and so would not be appropriate for most fifth graders.


Watkins, T.H. (1993). The Great Depression: America in the 1930s. New York: Little, Brown and Company.

This book is written at an adult level and is appropriate for teachers to use in order to gain more background knowledge and understanding before beginning to instruct students in a unit about the Great Depression.


Walker, M. (ed). (2004) Country Women Cope with Hard Times: A Collection of Oral Histories. Columbia, South Carolina: University of South Carolina Press.

This book provides written copies of individual’s oral histories. It is very interesting because of the various perspectives that it provides, as some of the women did not experience really hard times during the Great Depression while others had no money or food.


Wormer, R. (1994). Growing Up In The Great Depression. New York: Antheneum.

This book contains small excerpts from primary sources and a lot of narration and explanation of what happened during the Great Depression. It is text dominated and not very appealing for children.


Young, C. (1999). A Letter to Mrs. Roosevelt. New York: Random House Children’s Books.

This is a fictional account of a young girl’s life during the Great Depression and the causes that influence her to write a letter to Mrs. Roosevelt.


IIB. Unit Resource Review
We did not use many literature resources while constructing this unit as we wanted the students to interact with the materials in other ways. There are many written resources available for students as well as for teachers. The teachers will have to decide what texts are appropriate for their students and how they will integrate them into literacy instruction.

Depression-era Prints and Photographs Go on Display at The New York Public Library

http://www.nypl.org/press/wpafsa.cfm

This website is a press release of the New York Public Library regarding an exhibit on Depression-era art and photographs. There is some good general background information about the WPA Graphic Arts Division in addition to the FSA Photography Project. The explanation of how the government took action during the Depression to employ artists while documenting history is a nice introduction to the photo essay project at the end of this unit.

Farm Security Administration-Office of War Information Collection

http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/fsahtml/fahome.html

The Library of Congress has hundreds of FSA photos from the Great Depression for public use available online through this website. Users may search the site by subject, creator, and geographic location. This website has the most extensive collection of online photography of the Great Depression and a resource that teachers should not pass up when teaching a unit on this period of American history.
McElvaine, R.S. (1999). Depression and the new deal: a history in documents, Oxford University Press, New York.

This text is a fantastic resource that provides teachers with an abundant range of primary resources which could be applied to any year level. The Depression and the New Deal is a collection of primary sources that document the American Great depression. The documents featured within in the text look at the Great Depression using a variety of forms. These include radio announcements, speeches, newspaper editorials, photographs, interviews, memoirs. A diverse range of perspectives are used within the book this allows students to gain a more accurate and authentic understanding of history.


Michigan Historical Center. (2005). Then and Now: Prices. Retrieved October 27th, 2005, from http://www.michigan.gov/hal/0,1607,7-160-15481_19268_20778-52530--,00.html
The state of Michigan put together this great website that includes many historical facts and activities. This particular web page conveniently lists salaries and prices for certain goods back in the 1930’s and asks students to compare them to today. I found their listing of items to not be extensive enough for a student to be able to fully grasp the prices of food, clothing, appliances, etc. However, the information that was provided was laid out in a clear-cut manner that was easy to follow.
Luurtsema, T. (2001). Prices of the Era. Retrieved November 10th, 2005, from http://www.mcsc.k12.in.us/mhs/social/madedo/pri32-33.htm
This web page came from a project that high school students from Mooresville, Indiana put together concerning the Great Depression. The page lists prices for food, appliances, clothes, etc from the years 1932-1933. I found the list of items and their prices to be in depth, well done, and nicely organized. It is a fantastic resource for teaching students about the effects of the Depression.
The University of Pittsburg Press. (1999). The Great Depression: Cost of Living. Retrieved October 27th, 2005, from http://www.pitt.edu/~press/goldentrianglebooks/costs.html
This website is where the idea for the lesson about the cost of living came from. The lesson is actually meant to accompany the book, Duffy’s Rocks, and it asks students to create their own budgets. The lesson, though, is vague and it is not complete by any means. However, it gives three wonderful web pages as resources for other activities, prices for goods in the 1930’s compared to now, and information about many aspects of the New Deal.

III. UNIT OVERVIEW AND OUTLINE

IIIA. Overview/Rationale – Introduction to Teachers

This unit is especially relevant to students around this age (10-11 years old) because they are beginning to gain a stronger understanding of money and finances in their everyday lives. They are more likely to begin earning money in order to purchase materials. They are more able to observe their family budgets and income with respect to needs versus wants. As students in a social world they are coming to an age where they are more likely to create a social order based upon individual’s family resources. This unit will help them realize that the resources available for families change over time, and that their families could be affected in the future.

This unit of studying the Great Depression contributes to the field of social studies in a variety of ways. The Great Depression itself is primarily a historical occurrence, so it connects to social studies through the field of history. Our unit is based upon the use of primary sources, and teaches students essential skills that will be applicable in their future social studies classes. The basic understandings of the causes of the Great Depression come from knowledge of economics, and the students will gain knowledge about the social effects on individuals living through the time period.

Current educational debate and discussion about “best practices” are addressed through our unit in a variety of ways. We used a variety of instructional practices, including: grand discussions, lectures and note taking, graphic organizers, simulations, fishbowl conversations, and a KWL chart. Using this variety of instructional practices is supported by recent debate because it allows more students to have access to the material. Our unit is also designed to be applicable to students’ lives through the “Cost of Living” lesson and the Photo Essay assignment. Each of these lessons makes students evaluate portions of their lives and their communities. The unit is also connected to the Key Perspectives (Included in Integrating Socially by J. Hamston and K. Murdoch) through the themes of “time, place & space,” and “living with uncertainty.”



IIIB. Unit Plan

K-5 Social Studies Unit Outline

UNIT PLAN
Unit Topic:____The Great Depression_____________________________ Grade Level: ___5__
Group Members: _
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