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Great Depression Webquest

Adapted from a Webquest created by Mr. Dennis Spencer & Ms. Rocio Acevedo at the American School of Tampico
The Great Depression was a decade that seemed to go out of control. Americans did not consciously shape the events of the Depression; rather, they responded desperately to the seemingly uncontrollable forces that "sapped" the "lifeblood" of the nation. As the economy crumbled in the winter of 1929-1930 hundred of thousands of men and women fell out of work and faced a hungry, cold, insecure world. In spite of predicitions during 1930 and 1931 that the economy would improve, conditions grew worse. In the cities, an overpowering, impersonal disaster called "unemployment" hit unskilled workers, the factory employees, the young and the old. Unemployment grew worse and no one was able to stop the vicious cycle.

Agriculture was destroyed as farmers faced a decade of the worst droughts and dust storms ever. Governments and businesses were unable to cope with the immense proportions of the problem.

In this Webquest you will research not only the causes and important events of the Great Depression, but also examine personal struggles and challenges of a nation and its people in one of the worst socio-economic periods of the twentieth century. You will also take a look at the music and art that was a result of this period.

You will work in collaborative groups of 2-3 people to produce your research and scrapbook pages on your own page of this wikispace.
As a group you will produce a scrapbook. Your scrapbook will serve to demonstrate a period in American history depicting the frustrations and hopes of those who "lived" the Great Depression. Each person will be assigned a role, they must help create a webpage scrapbook that will answer the questions assigned along with visual representation of what the events were and how it changed American life.

Research the decade with the purpose of creating a historical timeline explaining, in detail, and accompained by appropriate photographs, charts, etc. the various aspects of this era, specifically the cause, important events, and the effect of the people and the nation. Be sure to include the following:
1. From boom to bust -
  • What was life in America like (both socially & economically) before the 1930s specifically the economy of the 1920s prior to the 1929 crash (give two examples for each including visuals).
  • Economy collapses - Explain the term "Black Tuesday," include its causes and effects.
  • Explain the causes and the effects of Dust Bowl Years and how long it lasted. Include what impact it had on the American farmer and food production for the United States (use pictures and visuals to explain)
  • Explain the term "Black Sunday," include its causes and effects.
  • Evolution of the role of women in the work force and politics prior, during and after the depression

You will create a political editorial (newspaper style editorial with opinions, facts and visuals) explaining in detail the fall from wealth and prosperity of the 1920s to the depression of the Dirty Thirties. In detail define and describe the following topics and any other your feel are necessary to fully explain the economic turmoil of the Great Depression:
  1. Define the stock market and the Dow Jones Industrial Average. What is their importance to American during the 1920s and 1930s?
  2. Compare the prices of variosu commodities prior to and during the Depression. ex. Food, Clothes, Housing, Shopping list for a family of 4 - be sure to include a definition of the commodity.
  3. Relief payments - What were they? - How did they work? What were the results? Things done to help the common person. ex: food, stamps, etc.

As the legal expert you will research and present aspects of the laws of the Depression years and today in a comparison of what took place in the Great Depression and what would happen today
  1. Compare the following laws as they applied in the Depression Era and today - Owning and Carrying a weapon, Aggravated assault, Murder
  2. Explore the legal and moral arguments (Pros and Cons) regarding Euthansia - Be sure to include a full definition of Euthanasia

Migrant Worker:
You will write a detailed daily log from the perspective of a migrant worker and you will be in charge of the Scrapbook design for your team. You will track your experiences from just before the Depression years to the present time explaining:
  1. What is a migrant worker?
  2. Pros and cons of such a career - affect on family life - on children and their eduction and social life.
  3. Terminology pertinent to this job.
  4. Rights and Laws of Migrant Workers in USA and Mexico in the Depression years and now. List and define at least 3 rights and 3 laws.
  5. Create a pictorial representation of all aspects of this lifestyle. Minimum of 10 pictures.

Webquest Resources