Grade Level: High School
This unit of study is about children living during the time of the Great Depression in America. The lab includes three distinct parts that can be used collectively or as separate pieces. Each part has different suggestions for activities, so time and depth is dependent on teacher choice. Students will analyze photographs and written resources to answer the big question of: What were some problems/issues facing children during the Great Depression? An extension questions could be asked for further student consideration: Are these same issues relevant today? Students will be encouraged to research and explore the process of finding additional resources to answer their questions or to complete enrichment activities.
At the end of this unit, students should be able to analyze and integrate information from the several documents in order to complete post-lab activities. This lesson should be used after students have acquired background knowledge of the Great Depression.
U.S. 2 (A) identify the major characteristics that define an historical era
U.S. 3 (C) analyze social issues affecting women, minorities, children, immigrants, urbanization, the Social Gospel, and philanthropy of industrialists
U.S. 16 (C) analyze the effects of the Great Depression on the U.S. economy and society such as widespread unemployment and deportation and repatriation of people of European and Mexican heritage and others
U.S. 25 (A) describe how the characteristics and issues in U.S. history have been reflected in various genres of art, music, film, and literature
U.S. 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; (D) use the process of historical inquiry to research, interpret, and use multiple types of sources of evidence; (G) identify and support with historical evidence a point of view on a social studies issue or event
U.S. 30 (A) create written, oral, and visual presentations of social studies information
- Recording of “God Bless the Child” by Billie Holiday, available online
- Copy of lyrics, “God Bless the Child”
- Song analysis worksheet
- Letter Analysis Sheet
- D-I-A-L Picture/Photograph analysis chart
- Optional: Copy of picture book, God Bless the Child, by Billie Holiday, Arthur Herzog, Jr. and illustrated by Jerry Pinkney, published by Harper Collins, 2004 (book available for order online)
- Use http://newdeal.feri.org/eleanor/er3a.htm to select letters to Eleanor Roosevelt for use with the letter analysis questions
Introductory information about “God Bless the Child”:
The song was written by Billie Holiday after having an argument with her mother about money. It has been interpreted in many ways, including an anthem about independence, people’s hypocrisy regarding generosity and the way people treat each other. Billie Holiday wrote the song in 1939 in collaboration with Arthur Herzog, Jr. The song was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1976 and was named one of the “songs of the century.” It has been covered numerous times by a number of different types of artists. Though the song isn’t specifically about children, it is used here to prompt thought and discussion about children in the Great Depression.
Delano, Jack. 1940. Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information Color Photographs, Children Gathering Potatoes on a Large Farm, Vicinity of Caribou, Aroostook County, Me. Schools Do Not Open until the Potatoes Are Harvested. Library of Congress. Web. 17 July 2014. <http://www.loc.gov/pictures/resource/fsac.1a33844/?co=fsac>.
Delano, Jack. At the Vermont State Fair, Rutland. 1941. Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information Color Photographs, Washington DC. Library of Congress. Web. 17 July 2014. <http://www.loc.gov/pictures/resource/fsac.1a33924/?co=fsac>.
Franco, Jimmy. “Http://www.latinopov.com/blog/?p=5133.” Web log post. LatinoPOV. Jimmy Franco, 24 May 2012. Web. 10 July 2014. <http://www.latinopov.com/blog/>.
Lange, Dorothea. To Harvest the Crops of California Thousands of Families Live Literally on Wheels, San Joaquin Valley. Digital image. Library of Congress. Library of Congress, n.d. Web. 17 July 2014. <http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/2004670049/>.
Lee, Russell. Negro Mother Teaching Children Numbers and Alphabet in Home of Sharecropper. Transylvania, Louisiana. 1939. Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information Black-and-White Negatives, Washington DC. Library of Congress. Web. 17 July 2014. <http://www.loc.gov/pictures/resource/cph.3c18226/?co=fsa>.
Lib. of Cong. U.S. Govt. Web. 10 February 2012. <http://www.loc.gov/>.
Mydans, Carl. Poor Children Playing on Sidewalk, Georgetown, Washington, D.C. 1935. Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information Black-and-White Negatives, Washington DC. Library of Congress. Web. 17 July 2014. < >.
Mydans, Carl. [Untitled Photo, Possibly Related To: Slum Front Yard Playground, Washington, D.C. Such Is the Front Yard Available to These Two Youngsters to Play In]. 1935. Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information Black-and-White Negatives, Washington DC. Library of Congress. Web. 17 July 2014. <http://www.loc.gov/pictures/resource/fsa.8a00446/?co=fsa>.
N.d. TS. Library of Congress. African American Odyssey: The Depression, The New Deal, and World War II (Part 2). Library of Congress. Web. 06 July 2014. <http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/aaohtml/exhibit/aopart8b.html#0817>.
New Deal Network. Dear Mrs. Roosevelt. Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute and the Institute for Learning Technologies, 2003. Web. 18 July 2014. <http://newdeal.feri.org/eleanor/er3a.htm>.
Rosskam, Edwin. Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information Black-and-White Negatives. 1941. Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information Black-and-White Negatives, Washington DC. Library of Congress. Web. 17 July 2014. <http://www.loc.gov/pictures/resource/cph.3c29089/?co=fsa>.
Shahn, Ben. Cotton Pickers. 1935. Hope and Despair: FSA Photography in Arkansas during the Great Depression, Washington DC. Hope and Despair: FSA Photography in Arkansas during the Great Depression –. Web. 17 July 2014. <http://libinfo.uark.edu/info/Exhibitgallery.asp?ExhibitID=172&ImageID=1080>.