Individual Assignments

Choose two of the four assignments below to complete.

1. Listen to the Music: Music is used by people to transfer messages and to express their opinions and feelings. Many songs came from the late 1920s and 1930s, which showed feelings and opinions of individuals and the nation. Look at the songs below and then decide which one you think best explains the feelings of Americans or conditions of America during the Great Depression. Write a paragraph explaining why you chose that song, what impact you think it had on society during the Great Depression, and what the message was it was trying to spread.

2. Surviving the Dust Bowl: The Dust Bowl was a major event that occurred during the Great Depression. Many farmers and people in the West were impacted by this environmental problem. Watch the video below and then answer the following questions. 

PBS Video: Surviving the Dust Bowl

  1. Describe at least three characteristics of life in the Great Plains of the United States during the Dust Bowl of the 1930's.
  2. List two weather conditions that contributed to the Dust Bowl.
  3. Define erosion.
  4. Describe how the invention of the tractor contributed to the Dust Bowl. What were the short-term benefits and the long-term consequences?
  5. How did the government try to help farmers and ranchers during the Dust Bowl?
  6. Who established the Soil Conservation Service in 1936 to educate farmers in the prevention of top soil erosion?
  7. The Soil Conservation Service promoted the planting of shelter belts, or lines or trees. How could a shelter belt prevent soil erosion.
  8. Farmers were encouraged by the Soil Conservation Service to practice crop rotation. In crop rotation a field planted with wheat in one year would be planted with a different crop in the next year. How would crop rotation affect the impact of disease and insects?
  9. People are concerned about modern threats to the soil: clear cutting of forests, strip mining, use of pesticides, clearing land in the rain forest for farming and cattle ranching. Choose one modern application and write one paragraph of advice based on lessons learned during the Dust Bowl.

3. Migrant Mother: Photos play an important role in documenting history and the feelings of people. View photographs of migrant families during the Great Depression and try to interpret the photos to describe and analyze the subjects life. You will be using the Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Reading Room to access artwork and the history on Dorothea Lange. Select one of the photographs in the collection by Dorothea Lange: reflect on the life of the subject(s) pictured, and write a cinquain poem that expresses what you see.

4. What Was Life Like During the Great Depression: Many families and people experienced different events during the Great Depression which have create different memories. You will need to interview someone who was alive during the Great Depression. During the interview focus on identifying the different memories shared; identify which memories were of happy occasions, which were of sad events, and identify ways families were able to find ways to have happy, positive experiences in spite of hard times. Also listen for how activities such as sports, movies, and/or family gatherings help during hard times. You will then summarize your interview in a report which shares your findings on the social-emotional state of your interviewee and their family during the Great Depression. 

Group Assignment

You need to create a group of 4-5 students. With your group you will be making one iMovie. Your movie should be 8-10 minutes and well edited. Each group member needs to have a well developed character and should use props when necessary. You will also need to turn in a typed script. Your movie will be portraying a person/family during the Great Depression. You may choose a farmer, business man, entertainer, migrant, or factory worker. If you have another idea you would like to use talk with the teacher. While the story may be fictional, you need to make sure you have accurate events and opinions in your movie. A rubric on how your iMovie will be graded can be found under Evaluation.