Educator Resources

Great Depression Curriculum Guide

"This Great Nation Will Endure": Photographs of the Great Depression, A Curriculum Guide

Refer to CaptionPhotographs of the Great Depression A Curriculum Guide

This curriculum is a complete online packet. The curriculum objectives are listed below. To download the curriculum guide, go to You will have the option to download all or parts of the curriculum guide.

Curriculum Guide Objectives

The purpose of this curriculum guide is to provide material aimed at meeting two goals. The first is to help students gain an understanding of the difficult living conditions faced by Americans during the Great Depression. The second is to familiarize students with the use of primary sources, and to train them in using document-based historical research techniques. Interpreting historical documents and photographs helps students gain a better understanding of history as the rich tapestry that it is, rather than a series of loosely connected facts, dates, and events. It also helps them to develop and refine their critical thinking skills.

Students will learn that a primary source is a record created by someone who participated in, or who had first-hand knowledge of an event. Examples of primary sources include letters, reports, diary entries, maps, drawings, newspaper and magazine articles, sound recordings, films and videos, artifacts, and photographs. The exhibition entitled "This Great Nation Will Endure ": Photographs of the Great Depression at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum uses photographs as primary sources presenting documentary evidence of the hardships of life during the Great Depression.

General Objectives: Document Based Questions

When students have successfully completed the exercises included in this packet they should be able to examine a primary source and

Identify factual information; identify points of view; gather, arrange and evaluate information; compare and contrast information; draw conclusions; prepare, present and defend arguments.

Specific Objectives: The Great Depression

Students should also be able to

Identify specific challenges faced by people during the Great Depression; describe the living conditions endured by people during the Great Depression; empathize with people facing major economic difficulties; explain the attitudes and values of people living under duress; compare and contrast conditions in the various regions of the United States.

If a teacher finds unique and effective ways to use these documents in their classroom and would like to share them with other teachers, please contact