Activities to Teach Students About the Great Depression
The Great Depression was one of the most trying times in American history. It was a time of economic hardship that lasted for over a decade. For students, learning about the Great Depression is crucial in understanding the impact of economic crises on society. Here are a few activities to help teach students about the Great Depression.
1. Simulation Activity
One of the best ways to teach students about the Great Depression is through a simulation activity. This can be done by simulating the Stock Market Crash of 1929. Students can be given “stocks” and watch as they rise and fall, just like it did during the Great Depression. The teacher can relate this to events that happened during the Depression, such as bank closures and job losses. This activity helps students understand the volatility of the stock market, as well as the impact it can have on the economy.
2. Primary Source Analysis
For high school students, analyzing primary sources is an excellent way to understand the Great Depression. Have students read primary sources that detail life during the Depression, such as diaries, newspaper articles, and photographs. Then, have them write a reflection on what they learned from these sources. This activity helps students step into the shoes of those who lived during the Depression and understand the day-to-day experiences.
3. Music Activity
Music can be an engaging way to teach students about the Great Depression. Have students listen to songs from the era that were popular during the Depression, such as “Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?” and “Over the Rainbow.” Then, have them analyze the lyrics and discuss the emotions conveyed in the songs. Students can then create their own songs or poems about the Great Depression, reflecting on the emotions and experiences of the time.
4. Interview Activity
Interviews with people who lived through the Great Depression can help students understand the human impact of the crisis. Arrange for students to interview grandparents or other people who lived during the Depression. Ask them about their experiences, including job losses, bank closures, and rationing. Students can then write a reflection on what they learned from these interviews.
5. Art Activity
Art can be a powerful way to express emotions and experiences. Have students create art inspired by the Great Depression, focusing on themes such as poverty, joblessness, and struggle. Students can create collages, paintings, or sculptures that reflect their understanding of the era. This activity helps students think creatively about the Great Depression and express their feelings in a unique way.
In conclusion, teaching students about the Great Depression requires a variety of engaging activities that help them understand the era’s economic, political, and social impact. Through simulations, analysis of primary sources, music, interviews, and art, students can gain a deeper understanding of the experiences of those who lived through the Great Depression.