Teaching Guide

Teachers should also read the Show Me the Money: Economics in American History module Teaching Guide for further information.

Also refer to the Standards Chart for this lesson.



The aim of this tour is to educate students about the economic implications of the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl.

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Chicago students are expected to learn about the economic history of the United States, including specific economic terms and policies. Students are expected to understand the concepts of supply and demand, inflation, and how a bank works.

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The intended audience is primarily Chicago Public School students in the fourth and fifth grades, but the tour and lessons may be adaptable for other grades as well.

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•Reading at a 4th grade level
•Use of Internet browsers
•Use of mouse

It is suggested that students go through the tours in the order given on the Show Me the Money home page, so that they follow chronological order.

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Social Science, Economics, Music, and Language Arts will be addressed in this tour.

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•Internet-linked computer with browser (version 5.0 recommended) for each student or group of students; or a projector with a large group of students.
•Macromedia Flash version 5 (will download and install automatically).
•Paper-based journal (optional).

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Instructional Plan

It is recommended that teachers preview this tour to find any concepts or vocabulary that may need to be covered before the students begin. Teachers may wish to create a vocabulary/spelling list for using the terms found in this tour.

It is suggested that students work through this tour independently or in groups. While working through the tour, students should take notes in their journals. Teachers may model note taking, as this is a skill that takes practice. Encourage students to write down anything of interest in their journals as well as unfamiliar terms.

Teachers may want to create an economic system within their own classroom. For example, students may form mock businesses reflecting needs they think their classroom has. The teacher may then introduce economic factors into the business world of the classroom, in order to explore inflation and supply and demand. The teacher may want to act as the classroom bank and give out loans to the student businesses. Teachers may also want to discuss current events, such as businesses that are failing and succeeding, or businesses that the students may be familiar with. For example, items from popular culture (Fubu clothing, Nike, McDonalds) may appeal to the students and help them relate to the businesses of the 1920s.

Teachers are strongly encouraged to set up a discussion time for students after each computer session so that they can reflect and give feedback on what they have experienced so far in the tour. Questions and statements such as the following may be posed during discussion: Tell about something you learned today from the tour. Do you know anyone who owns their own business? Have you ever been to a bank? Have you ever been to a farm? What else would you want to know about the subject of the tour?

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Learning Objectives

•Students will learn about the Great Depression and how it affected the country.  
•Students will learn terms such as credit, inflation, supply and demand, Federal Reserve Bank, and stock.
•Students will understand the impact of Black Tuesday and understand how the stock market crashed.
•Students will understand how a business survives and also goes bankrupt.
•Students will learn about the Dust Bowl and the devastation it had on the Great Plains Region.
•Students will be able to describe the horrid life of a migrant worker.

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Assessment and Evaluation

Journal entries: Children will show evidence of note taking in their online journals.

Upon the completion of this tour, children can add to their printed journals thoughts and ideas about the following questions: (They may refer to notes taken in their journals and to the tour itself).

How does a business get money to stay successful and not go bankrupt?

Describe the Dust Bowl and its effects on the farms of Oklahoma. How would you feel if you had to take the journey to California?

Describe a business - clothing, restaurants, movies, etc. and explain how supply and demand works.

What is a stock?

What is an "Okie?" Has there ever been a time when someone called you something that wasn't your real name? How did it make you feel?

Journal questions from tour:

How would you feel if you had to work as a laborer instead of going to school?

On October 28, Mr. Canes owned 7 different stocks that were worth a total of $6,735.00. On October 29, the value of these stocks went down to $237.00. How much money did Mr. Canes lose in one day?

What would you have done if you were Woody? Has anyone you know ever lost his or her job?

How would you feel if you had to move? What would you take along with you?

In 1930, the population of Oklahoma was 2,396,040. Between 1935 and 1940, nearly 309,000 Oklahomans moved out of the state in search of opportunities. Estimate the number of people leaving Oklahoma every year.

Why do you think it was important to arrive early?

Why would wages go down if there were many people and few jobs? How much money does Pa earn working a ten-hour day? How much money does Woody earn in a ten-hour day? What is the total amount of money Woody and Pa earn in a ten-hour day?

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Additional Information

Literature Resources for students

Beatty, Patricia. Lupita Mañana. New York: HarperTrophy, 2000, 1981. To help her poverty-stricken family, 13-year-old Lupita enters California as an illegal alien and starts to work while constantly on the watch for "la migra."

Hesse, Karen. Out of the Dust. New York: Scholastic, Inc., 2000.

Partridge, Elizabeth. This land was made for you and me : the life and songs of Woody Guthrie. New York : Viking, 2002.

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