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The Great Depression

The Great Depression was a pivotal event in 20th century economics. It also had a great impact in other areas as well. Here are some activities to use when teaching about this particular period of history.

1. If you are not covering history in chronological order, you may wish to do a short lesson on the precursors for the Great Depression, in particular the years immediately following World War One and the “Roaring Twenties.”

2. Brainstorm an information list of what you know about the stock market. Also list questions that you would like to find the answers to about the stock market.

3. Once you’ve brainstormed what you know about the stock market, cover information on how it works, the parties involved, anything that will increase the understanding of the stock market. Then hypothesize what role the stock market could have played in the Great Depression.

4. Compare/contrast the stock market crash of 1929 with the 500 point drop in the stock market in 1987. How were they different? How were they similar? Why didn’t a depression ensue after the drop in 1987?

5. What changes were made after the 1929 stock market crash that prevented the same results from happening after the 1987 drop?

6. See if you can arrange a field trip to a brokerage house or other financial institution that deals in stocks and bonds.

7. The stock market wasn’t the only cause of the Great Depression of 1929. Over 9,000 banks closed between January 1930 and March 1933. Why?

8. Learn how to open and manage a checking and/or saving account at a bank or credit union. How would you feel if you suddenly went to the bank only to find a sign that said “Closed – Out of Business” on the door? How would this affect you?

9. Research what life was like for the average family during the Great Depression years.

Other lessons on the web about the Great Depression:



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