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The Great Depression-A tale of misery and hope

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Keywords: Great Depression, Social Studies, Pictures
Subject(s): Video, Technology, Writing, Social Studies, History
Grades 7 through 12
NETS-S Standard:
  • Creativity and Innovation
  • Communication and Collaboration
  • Critical Thinking, Problem Solving, and Decision Making
  • Digital Citizenship
  • Technology Operations and Concepts
View Full Text of Standards
School: Robert W Harrold Educl Campus, Sidney Center, NY
Planned By: William Randel
Original Author: William Randel, Sidney Center
Introductory Activity/Procedures:

"One of the most painful memories from the 20th century occurred during the early 1920s and 1930s. This period became known as the Great Depression. Today, we will be making observations and inferences in order to decipher many different photographs that were taken during the Great Depression. I would like everyone to take out a blank sheet of paper and tell me in your own words what an observation is, and what an inference is.”

Students will spend (1-2 minutes) in doing this brief opening activity. The teacher will call on different students and write on the Smart-Board their definitions for observation and inference.

Observation-An act or instance of regarding attentively or watching.

Inference-Any process of reasoning from premises to a conclusion.

Students will be given a set of 10 index cards which they will need to write observations and inferences about each photograph shown on the Smart-Board.
The students will be required to write about whether the Great Depression was a tale of misery or a tale of hope within the United States. Students will need to use the photographs in order to support their claim.

TIME ALLOTTED: 5-7 minutes

Developmental Activity/Procedures:

Students will look up to the front of the classroom, and pay close to attention to the images from the Great Depression that will be shown. The images are designed to spark critical thinking skills, while making observations and inferences about the photographs in order to answer the essential question.

The following photographs will be shown during this portion of the lesson:


image will be posted on the Smart-Board in order for the students to write their observations, and make inferences about what is taking place in each photograph.
Students will come up to the Smart-Board in order to write one observation that they see on each photograph, and will write one inference that they can make about the photograph that they see.

For example: The first photograph will be shown and a student may make an observation that “she is working in a field”. That same student will make an inference that “she is working hard”.

Students will come up to the Smart-Board for each photograph until we have finished this part of the lesson. The teacher will take note of the responses that the students are making as they go through each photograph. The teacher will save each photograph that has notes written on it using the Smart-Board software in order to show future students.


The second part of this lesson will be to examine the essential question of the day: Was the Great Depression a time of misery, or a time of hope?

Students will have the choice on what claim they will make (misery or hope) using the photographs that were shown previous to this part of the lesson. Students will have the rest of the period in order to write an essay explaining whether the Great Depression was a time of misery or a time of hope. The students will have the remainder of the period to write their response. If the students do not finish, it will be assigned for homework for the following period.


Concluding Activity/Procedures:

Before the students leave, the teacher will ask whether students believe that the Great Depression was a time of misery or a time of hope. This will serve as an evaluation of what they interpreted throughout the period when viewing the photographs on the Smart-Board.

Students will also be evaluated on their written assignment in the following manner:

Length-2 points

Content-8 points

In terms of length, students must write an essay that is 1 to 2 pages. All conventions of the English language must be followed. Correct spelling, grammar, and mechanics are all a part of the length evaluation portion of the grade.

Content is extremely important. Students will need to use evidence from several photographs in order to tell me whether they believe it was a time of misery or a time of hope within the United States. In order to receive full credit on this portion of the grade, students must use 3-4 photographs while explaining their observations and inferences on each photograph that they utilized.

Plans for students with diverse needs:

Copies of the photographs will be provided if necessary for students who have a difficult time seeing.

Teacher will assign groups in order to help the weaker students to perform to their full abilities to ensure that they understand the differences between an observation and an inference.

The Smart-Board will enable students to visualize the material that they are learning through photographs from the Great Depression.
Materials: Whiteboards, Writing
Other Items: 1 SMART Board 680- 77" Diagnoal, $1399.00 each, total of $1399.00
1 SMART Slate and Bluetooth Wireless Adaptor, WS200 Bundle, $349.00 each, total of $349.00