Pathways Project College and Career Readiness A. Lesson Title


Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills



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Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills

USH.16.B

identify the causes of the Great Depression, including the impact of tariffs on world trade, stock market speculation, bank failures, and the monetary policy of the Federal Reserve System

USH.12.A

analyze the impact of physical and human geographic factors on the settlement of the Great Plains, the Klondike Gold Rush, the Panama Canal, the Dust Bowl, and the levee failure in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina

Social Studies Skills

USH.29.A

use a variety of both primary and secondary valid sources to acquire information and to analyze and answer historical questions

USH.29.B

analyze information by sequencing, categorizing, identifying cause and‐effect relationships, comparing and contrasting, finding the main idea, summarizing, making generalizations, making predictions, drawing inferences, and drawing conclusions

USH.29.D

use the process of historical inquiry to research, interpret, and use multiple types of sources of evidence

USH.29.G

identify and support with historical evidence a point of view on a social studies issue or event

USH.29.H

use appropriate skills to analyze and interpret social studies information such as maps, graphs ,presentations, speeches, lectures ,and political cartoons

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  1. Timeframe:

This lesson plan generally requires a 45-minute class period to complete.


  1. Vocabulary:

  • Tariff

  • Depression

  • Stock Market

  • Speculation

  • Monetary Policy

  • Federal Reserve System

  • Laissez-Faire

  • Over cultivation




  1. Procedures:


Step 1: Engage Students in Learning and Activate Prior Knowledge
The teacher should have students view the 10 minute YouTube video on the 1929 Stock Market Crash. Students will write open ended questions they have while viewing the video. The students should then be allowed to have a short class discussion facilitated by the teacher on how stock market speculation during this time period led to bank failures which contributed to the Great Depression.
Video Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RJpLMvgUXe8
Step 2: Pre-Teach Academic Vocabulary
The teacher will provide the students with the following list of terms:


  • Tariff

  • Depression

  • Stock Market

  • Speculation

  • Monetary Policy

  • Federal Reserve System

  • Laissez-faire

The students will complete the Know and Want to Learn section of their KWL chart to see what they already know about these words. The class will discuss the words, and the students will complete the Learn section of the chart for any words they did not know.


Step 3: Document Analysis-Think Aloud
The teacher will choose one of the documents to complete a think aloud with. The teacher will model how he or she is making meaning of the document, while completing the SOAP-Tone document analysis sheet. The teacher will show the students how the document can be used to answer the question—What caused the Great Depression?
Step 4: Document Analysis-Think-Pair-Share
The teacher should give students two more documents to analyze about the causes of the Great Depression. Students should then be allowed time to analyze these two documents and complete a SOAPS-Tone for each. Students should then pair up and share their ideas with someone else in class, and refine their document analysis sheets. After students have had time to share, the teacher should hold a whole class discussion on how these documents could be used to answer the question—What caused the Great Depression?
Step 5: Document Analysis-Independent Practice
The teacher should give the students the final two documents to analyze about the causes of the Great Depression. Students should analyze the documents, and complete the SOAPS-Tone on their own for these documents. Students should be able to identify how these sources could help them construct an argument to answer the question—What caused the Great Depression?
Step 6: Processing: Writing-to-Learn
Processing Question-What was the primary cause of the Great Depression?
The teacher should give the students a 5 x7 index card to write on. Students should then be allowed to answer the question on their index cards. Students should be instructed to use their vocabulary terms in their answer, and must use evidence from the documents in their response. The first sentence of the student’s response should be a thesis statement that answers the question.

  1. Solutions

Teachers should use the writing-to-learn activity to assess whether students mastered the objectives for the lesson. Student responses will vary as they are asked to make a judgment on the primary cause of the Great Depression. Student mastery is demonstrated on this writing activity if they address secondary causes in their response, while developing their argument about the primary cause. The importance of this lesson is that the students act as historians by developing an argument, and supporting with evidence. The following sample rubric could be used to assess whether students achieved mastery:







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