Grade and Subject: Eighth Grade Social Studies

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Unit Title: The Great Depression and New Deal

Grade and Subject: Eighth Grade Social Studies

Classroom Teacher: Debra Krawetz

Unit Introduction

In this unit, students will develop an understanding of the effects of economic hardships on Americans during the Great Depression. The students will examine the programs set forth in the New Deal, and debate the question of whether government has a the responsibility or authority to intervene to establish social/economic programs to improve the quality of life for citizens. The students will also discuss how the use of mass media (the radio and Fireside Chats) helped to communicate the plans of the New Deal, secure public confidence it, and calm people’s fears.

  1. Standards and Benchmarks

    1. The student will understand basic principles of economic decision-making.

    2. The student will understand business organizations, market structures, and financial institutions that operate within our economy. The student will understand the economic activities of government.

    3. The student will understand the concepts that measure the national economy.

    4. The student will acquire skills of chronological thinking.

    5. The student will understand and analyze the economic, social, and political transition of the United States before, during, and after World War II.

    6. The student will recognize the importance of individual action and character in shaping civic life.

  1. Enduring Understanding:

    1. The students will understand the economic causes and the social effects and hardships of the Great Depression.

    2. The students will understand how the role of government changed through the New Deal.

  1. Essential Questions

    1. What caused the Great Depression and how did it affect people’s daily lives?

    2. How did the New Deal change the role of government and impact American lives?

    3. How did “mass media” help to communicate information to the public and quell people’s fears?

  1. Summative Assessment

Note: This will be introduced in Lesson One, and re-introduced and assigned in Lesson Ten.

Option #1: The New Deal Debate: Did the New Deal “Solve” the Great Depression?

Option #2: Does the federal government have the authority and responsibility to establish social and economic programs to improve the quality of life for its citizens who need help?

  • Students will research and debate a position posed in one of the Summative Assessment options, choosing from Option #1 or Option #2

  • Time will be provided in class to research their positions

  • Students will write a five-paragraph essay stating their position
  • Students will present their positions to class

5. Formative Instruction and Formative Assessments –See unit outline and daily lesson plan
6. Differentiation –See daily lesson plans for accommodations for specific students.

  1. Vocabulary/Academic Language

List 1

  1. Crash of 1929

  2. Depression

  3. Recession

  4. Recovery

  5. Black Thursday

  6. Black Tuesday

  7. Margin account

  8. Buying on the margin

  9. Mortgage

  10. Foreclosure

  11. Wall Street

  12. Bull Market

  13. Bear Market

  14. economic hysteria

List 2

  1. The New Deal

  2. Brain Trust

  3. Fireside Chats

  4. Tennessee Valley Authority, TVA

  5. National Labor Relations Act, NLR

  6. Social Security Act, SSA

  7. Works Progress Administration, WPA

  8. Farm Security Administration, FSA

  9. Emergency Banking Act, EBA

  10. Congress of Industrial Organizations, CIO

  11. Farm Credit Administration, FCA

  12. Federal Project One

Civilian Conservation Corps, CCC

List 3

  1. Dust Bowl

  2. Dust Storms

  3. Route 66

  4. Okies

  5. Migrant Farmers

  6. Hoovervilles

  7. Shantytowns

  8. Erosion

  9. Irrigation

  10. Black Sunday

List 4

  1. Franklin Delano Roosevelt

  2. Hubert Hoover

  3. Eleanor Roosevelt

  4. Marian Anderson

  5. Dorothea Lange

  6. Woody Guthrie

  7. John Steinbeck

  8. Langston Hughes

8. Skills /Concept


  • End of prosperity

  • Buy now, pay later

  • The common good

  • Individual Responsibility

  • Federal Responsibility

  • Natural Disaster Vs. Human Generated Disaster


  • Evaluating primary source material and texts

  • Comparing and contrasting primary sources

  • Working Collaboratively

  • Writing: Creative, essays, current events review, etc.

  • Reading: Literal, interpretive, evaluative

  • Creating a thesis and supporting it.

  • Speaking, listening and participating in class discussions.

9. Resources

Call to Freedom textbook, Chapter 24 or History Alive Chapter, Chapter 28. Handouts and web based materials included in this packet; see Daily lesson plans for specific materials


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