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OKH 5-6, 5-7 Instructional Resources

Page history last edited by pam merrill 1 day, 14 hours ago


Lesson Ideas

Inquiry Tasks

  • Encourage students to brainstorm their understandings of an economic depression. Reinforce student understandings of the Great Depression by using the presentation, Causes of the Great Depression, provided by O.C.S.S. Ask students to examine the economic conditions of the 1920s which contributed to the instability and failures of economic institutions during the 1930s. Ask students to note which causes flowed from irresponsible individual actions versus failure of government to respond. How could the devastation have been mitigated, if at all, by different courses of action? 

  • Remind students that while the Great Depression affected all Americans and was a global economic event, Oklahoman's experiences are of primary focus; therefore, encourage students to develop a better understanding of the personal hardships encountered by our state's citizens, using the classroom presentation, Oklahoma's Hoovervilles, provided by O.C.S.S. Invite volunteers to engage in the strategy Putting Myself in the Picture for selected images. What additional questions would students ask of Oklahomans who survived the 1930s? Does America continue to struggle with addressing the needs of those impacted by economic hardships?

  • In consideration that the goals and effects of the New Deal will be examined in-depth as they relate to U.S. History coursework, introduce students to some of the more significant aspects of the New Deal that impacted Oklahomans, using the classroom presentation, Great Depression and the New Deal, provided by the Oklahoma Council for Social Studies. Enlist students to conduct a community hunt to discover the legacy of the New Deal, found in public buildings, water or forestry projects, roads, bridges, and programs providing assistance to family members, such as Medicare or Social Security. Encourage students to explore evidence of the New Deal in their own communities using the Living New Deal: Projects in Oklahoma.

  • Engage students in a debate regarding the appropriate role for government to address the plight of the farmers and conditions of the Dust Bowl, using the lesson How Much Government, developed by PBS. Understanding basic differences between liberal and conservative ideologies, students will evaluate selected federal laws and programs created by the New Deal, drawing conclusions about the extent that government can and should play in providing relief and recovery.

  • Ask students to consider the question, “Why are Oklahomans also known as Okies?" Invite student groups to examine the Okies Photograph Collection, documenting Oklahomans during the Great Depression, noting the first impressions that come to mind regarding each photograph. Create a class list of adjectives used to describe the people in the images. Identify which are positive versus negative impressions. Discuss why the term Okie may have implied something different than it does today. Should Oklahomans be proud of this nickname? Why or why not?

  • Ask students to analyze the experiences of many Oklahoma farm families and laborers who left the state to find agricultural employment elsewhere, using the lesson Migrant Farm Workers of the Great Depression, provided by the Woody Guthrie Center. Encourage students to extend their learning by exploring the Library of Congress' photograph collection by Dorothea Lange, who documented the lives of migrant workers. To what extent can photographs provide different and often superior evidence of historical events than written documents?

  • Ask student groups to analyze primary source documents and images from the inquiry task Causes of the Great Depression, provided by Digital History. Ask students to consider the question, "What forces caused the collapse of the economy and contributed to the lasting impact of the Great Depression?" Encourage students to compose a written response using evidence from the primary sources. Provide students with structured strategies for analysis of primary sources, if needed, 

  • Ask students to examine the significance of state politics in government's ability to respond to public needs during the Great Depression, using the authentic assessment New Deal in Oklahoma developed by the Oklahoma State Department of Education. Encourage students to examine specific New Deal efforts in the state, including the reaction of Governor Murray and the influence of Governor Marland and his "Little Deal" proposals. Advise students to focus on how New Deal programs of the Roosevelt administration were implemented in Oklahoma and what lasting accomplishments were achieved in the areas of economic relief and social welfare. 

  • Invite student groups to engage in a role-playing debate, representing various segments of the public and government, deliberating on appropriate and effective responses to the Dust Bowl. Consider accessing the Introduction to the Dust Bowl (5-minute videoclip from Ken Burns documentary, Dust Bowl) to ignite the discussion. Using background information for each group and deliberation guidelines provided in the lesson The New Deal and the Dust Bowl by PBS, encourages students to focus discussion on three areas: Relief- solving the immediate problem of the situation, Recovery- returning things to the way they were prior to the Depression, and Reform- making sure that what happened does not recur.

  • Inform students of the significance of individual photographers who were hired by the Farm Security Administration and the Office of War Information (FSA-OWI) during the Great Depression and whose photographs are depicted the Dust Bowl documentary. Ask student groups to assume the role of a museum curator, challenged with selecting the single best Dust Bowl photograph for inclusion in a national exhibit of the Dust Bowl. Encourage students to browse the photo collection provided by PBS Dust Bowl and the US Department of Agriculture. Once in agreement, ask groups to write a synopsis that identifies the photograph's title, photographer, location, date and explanation why the photo deserves to be featured in the exhibit. Extend student learning using the lesson, Dust Bowl in Images, developed by the Smithsonian Institute, asking groups to compare images to firsthand accounts of survivors of this environmental disaster.



Primary Sources 

Secondary Sources 



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