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Classroom Toolkit: The Great Depression

Overview of the lessons, including procedures
Disciplines: Social Studies, Mathematics
Grade Levels: 5 - 9
Time Frame: Three class periods

Materials Needed:

Learning Objectives: The students will:

  1. Gather information about the organization of the Civilian Works Administration nationally and locally from Town Board notes and newspaper articles.

  2. Gather information about steps to implement CWA projects in the North Country.

  3. Calculate weekly wages based on hourly wage information.

  4. Calculate the total CWA hours in the town of Potsdam and the percentage reserved for women.

  5. Based on Town Board minutes, determine the duration of the CWA program in the township of De Kalb and the types of projects they completed.


NYS Social Studies Standards Correlation:
Standard 1: Key Idea 4

  • Consider different interpretations of key events and /or issues in history and understand the differences in these accounts.

  • Explore different experiences, beliefs motives, and traditions of people living in their neighborhoods, communities, and State.

  • View historic events through the eyes of those who were there, as shown in their art, writings, music and artifacts.



  • Consider the sources of historic documents, narratives, or artifacts and evaluate their reliability

  • Describe historic events through the eyes and experiences of those who were there.


Standard 5: Key Idea 4

  • Explain the role that civility plays in promoting effective citizenship in preserving democracy.


These lessons were originally developed through a grant from the New York State Archives and Records Administration, Local Government Records Management Improvement Fund. They were developed during the fiscal year 2003-2004 by Bryan Thompson, Town of De Kalb's Historian.


In 2009, Bryan Thompson received the Bruce W. Dearstyne Annual Archives Award for Excellence in the Educational Use of Local Government Records. This award is presented to an individual who has demonstrated outstanding initiative, leadership, and creativity in encouraging and promoting the use of local government historical records for elementary and secondary education.

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