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Government Responds to the Young

Entire Unit

Lesson Plans for the Great Depression from the Library of Congress
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Grades 3-8

Migration during the Great Depression: Living History (Grades 3-8) Students create an archival collection of oral histories, telling the stories of individuals in their community. Students will become acquainted with New Deal programs and the experiences of Depression-era Americans.

Out of the Dust: Visions of Dust Bowl History (Grades 3-8) Students gain an understanding of Dust Bowl history through the eyes of a child, using Karen Hesse's Out of the Dust.

Grades 6-12

Found Poetry with Primary Sources: The Great Depression (Grades 6-12) Students create poetry based on the language found in Depression Era oral histories.

Personal Stories and Primary Sources: Conversations with Elders (Grades 6-12) Students use primary sources and an interview with grandparent or significant elder, to provide a human face for life in the twentieth century. Lesson III focuses on Gees Bend, Alabama during the Great Depression.

Immigration and Migration: Today and During the Great Depression (Grades 6-12) Students compare the immigration/migration experiences of their families to those of people living through the Great Depression.

To Kill a Mockingbird: A Historical Perspective (Grades 6-12) Students are guided on a journey through the Depression Era South in the 1930s.

Grades 9-12

New Deal Programs: Brother, Can You Spare a Dime? (Grades 9-12) Students investigate people who experienced the Great Depression and received relief from the New Deal.

The Grapes of Wrath: Voices from the Great Depression (Grades 9-12) Students create a scrapbook from the point of view of a migrant worker.

The Great Depression and the 1990's (Grades 9-12) Students gain a better understanding of why the government takes care of its people and how welfare programs started.

American Lives in Two Centuries: What Is an American? (Grades 9-12) Students look at Depression era life histories to view the changing lifestyle of the average American.

Human Meaning of Depression

Use these primary sources from the Library of Congress to talk about the hardships that rural migrant families from the Great Plains endured during the Great Depression.

Dust Bowl Migration

Support for Students from the Library of Congress:

Guides for Teachers from the Library of Congress:

The Magpie Sings the Great Depression: Selections from DeWitt Clinton High Shool's Literary Magazine, 1929-1942

With a student body numbering over ten thousand boys, the Bronx's DeWitt Clinton High School produced more than its share of writers and artists, many of whom were published in The Magpie, the school's literary magazine. This website presents 195 poems, articles, and short stories and 295 graphics and photographs from The Magpie, encompassing the years 1929 to 1942. Taken together, they comprise a portrait of student life in New York City during the years of the Great Depression.

Children Turn to the President

Eleanor Roosevelt, "My Mail". An essay by Mrs. Roosevelt about the mail she received while in the White House and her procedures for handling it. More about Mrs. Roosevelt's "My Day" newpaper columns.

Government Responds to the Young


  • National Youth Administration

    Eleanor Roosevelt helped establish the National Youth Administration in June 1935. The NYA helped more than 2 million high school and college students stay in school by giving them grants in exchange for work. They worked in libraries and college labs, and on farms. The NYA also found work for 2.5 million young people who were not in school and not working. As World War II approached, NYA youths worked in defense industries where they gained useful job skills.

    The NYA was an equal opportunity agency, providing aid to women and minorities. This feature of the program was very important to Mrs. Roosevelt. "It is a question of the right to work," she said, "and the right to work should know no color lines."

  • Civilian Conservation Corps
  • Aid to Dependent Children

Use these primary sources from the Library of Congress to talk about the programs that the Federal Government created to end the Great Depression.

The New Deal

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