Life in the 1930s: The Great Depression
An Internet WebQuest on The Great Depression

created by Paige G. Elliott
Fuquay-Varina High School

Introduction | The Task | The Process & Resources | Conclusion | HyperText Dictionary



Introduction

You have each been given a role or perspective from which to view the topic of LIFE IN THE 1930S: THE GREAT DEPRESSION. This upcoming activity relating to the topic has been prepared so that you may have greater understanding and appreciation for the book we will begin reading soon, TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD.

Often our personal experiences and situations greatly affect the way we perceive life and events around us -- as you will soon see.




The Quest

From the point of view assigned, describe what life is like for you on an everyday basis. How do you spend your time? What obstacles do you face? How do you feel about your community?




The Process and Resources

Today you are going to explore several different websites relating to the 1930s/Great Depression. As stated earlier, personal experiences and situations greatly affect the way we perceive life and events. You are to take on the role/perspective assigned and follow the directions outlined in Phase 2 - Looking Deeper. Once you follow those directions, you will use the knowledge you gained to complete a future long-term assignment. In order to complete the assignment successfully, be sure to follow ALL directions carefully.

Phase 1 - Background: Something for Everyone

TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD is a controversial novel written by Harper Lee. A young girl, Scout, tells about life in the 1930s small town of Maycomb, Alabama. She grows and learns more about herself and society as her father defends a black man accused of raping a white woman. Consider that Scout is only one person with on perspective; someone else may describe the same events very differently.

Before you begin working as individual groups/perspectives, take a look at the site below. What is your overall general impression of the laws given? Would your opinion change if you were raised differently?

Phase 2 - Looking Deeper from Different Perspectives

INSTRUCTIONS:

1. You and your group will explore the sites below pertaining to your perspective.

2. Read through the files linked to your group. If you print out the files, underline the passages that you feel are the most important. If you look at the files on the computer, copy sections you feel are important by dragging the mouse across the passage and copying / pasting it into a word processor or other writing software.

3. Note: Remember to write down or copy/paste the URL of the file you take the passage from so you can quickly go back to it if you need to prove your point.

4. Be prepared to focus what you've learned in a writing that describes daily life from the assigned perspective.

5-10 year-old child (white, middle class)

Use the Internet information linked below to answer these questions specifically related to 5-10 year-old child (middle class):

TOYS
1. From what material are the toys on this site made?

2. Describe some of the toys available to you in the 1930s.

3. For what age group(s) are these toys appropriate?

4. Which toy might be your favorite? Why?

MOVIES
5. What two famous films were released in 1931?

6. What did 'The Mummy' offer moviegoers?

7. Why do you think these movies were popular? In your opinion, what attracts people to 'mystery' and 'suspense,' especially children?

PHOTOS (be sure to click on the photo to enlarge)
8. What is the most noticeable aspect of the photographs?

9. As a child in the 1930s with minimal reading skills, do you think you would be able to 'understand' what the signs mean?

TIMELINE
10. Look at the population in 1930. What is the population of whites? What is the population of blacks? What is the difference?

11. Who are the Scottsboro Boys?

12. If you were an black child, who might you look up to in 1936?

  • Toys during the 1930s - This site offers a catalog of tinker toys in the 1930s. Click on the catalog and view all the different toys. Search the site for 1920s and 1930s toys.
  • Horror Movies of the 1930s - This site gives a brief overview of popular horror movies of the 1930s.
  • Photographs depicting discrimination - You may have heard your grandparents tell about social inequalities, but this site will show them to you.
  • Alabama Timeline - This site gives general information associated with Alabama between 1901-1951, specifically the 1930s.

African American Male (adult)

Use the Internet information linked below to answer these questions specifically related to African American (adult):

FDR
1. From Part I, what were the two major crises while FDR was in office?

2. From Part V, what famous phrase was spoken at the inaugural address?

STOCK MARKET
3. What were some of the causes of the crash?

4. Is the crash the reason for The Great Depression?

WPA
5. What was the WPA?

6. Why was the WPA created?

TIMELINE
7. Look at the population in 1930. What is the population of whites? What is the population of blacks? What is the difference?

8. Who are the Scottsboro Boys?

KKK
9. What event spurred the creation of the KKK?

10. Look under the heading of 'More Violence.' Were blacks the only targets of KKK members? Explain. Give an example.

PHOTOS (click on image to enlarge)
11. What do a majority of the signs inform citizens?

12. As an African American male, how might you be discriminated against or inconvenienced?

  • Franklin Delano Roosevelt - This site gives an overview of Roosevelt's life. I suggest that you look closely at section V entitled PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES.
  • Stock Market Crash of 1929 - This site offers a brief description and explanation of terms associated with the stock market crash of 1929.
  • WPA - This site explains what the WPA is and what it did for the United States.
  • Alabama Timeline - This site gives general information associated with Alabama between 1901-1951, specifically the 1930s.
  • Ku Klux Klan (KKK) - This site gives a brief history of the organization and its affect on America.
  • Photographs depicting discrimination - You may have heard your grandparents tell about social inequalities, but this site will show them to you.

White male (adult)

Use the Internet information linked below to answer these questions specifically related to Legislator (white/male):

TIMELINE
1. Look at the population in 1930. What is the population of whites? What is the population of blacks? What is the difference?

2. Who are the Scottsboro Boys?

FDR
3. How many terms did he serve?

4. From Part V, what famous phrase was spoken at the inaugural address?

STOCK MARKET
5. What were some of the causes of the crash?

6. Is the crash the reason for The Great Depression?

PHOTOS(click on image to enlarge)
7. What do a majority of the signs inform citizens?

8. As a white male, how might you be discriminated against or inconvenienced (or would you)? Why do you think these signs were necessary?

WPA
9. What is the WPA?

10. What kind of job might you receive with the WPA?

KKK
11. What event spurred the creation of the KKK?

12. Tell about the types of individuals of which KKK may disapprove.

  • Alabama Timeline - This site gives general information associated with Alabama between 1901-1951, specifically the 1930s.
  • Franklin Delano Roosevelt - Brief description of FDR and the era he led.
  • Stock Market Crash of 1929 - This site briefly reviews the events leading to The Great Depression.
  • Photographs depicting discrimination - You may have heard your grandparents tell about social inequalities, but this site will show them to you.
  • WPA - This site explains what the WPA is and what it did for the United States.
  • Ku Klux Klan (KKK) - This site gives a brief history of the organization and its affect on America.

Phase 3 - Debating, Discussing, and Reaching Consensus

You have all learned about a different part of The Great Depression. As a group, review the information you learned. Now, keeping your perspective in mind, think about what life would be like for you in the 1930s.

#1 List as many adjectives as possible to describe your average daily life.

Using 2-4 sentences EACH, answer the following questions. If you feel one may not apply to your perspective, explain why the topic does not affect you.

#2 How might feel about your community? Do you like it? Why? Why not?

#3 With what types of people might you spend a majority of the day (working/playing)?

#4 How is your bank statement looking this year? Explain.

#5 How do you feel about the President? Is he doing anything to help you and/or your community?

#5 If you passed a sign-making store, what types of signs might you see being made?

Phase 4 - Real World Feedback

You and your teammates have learned a lot by dividing up into different roles/perspectives. Now it's time to apply that knowledge. Your group is going to create a journal or diary for a person fitting your role/perspective.

A) Review the topics/scenarios below.

B) Assign each person in your group ONE topic/scenario.

C) In a one-page writing, write about the topic/scenario from the point of view of the role/perspective. BE SURE TO GIVE DETAILS AND DESCRIPTIONS. You may even include pictures or quotes to enhance your writing (if you choose).

D) Combine all members' writings into one 'journal/diary.'

E) Turn in the ANSWERS to the website questions AND the completed JOURNAL/DIARY. Only one copy for the entire group is necessary.

F) The journals/diaries will be shared with the entire class and used as a basis for discussion.

TOPICS/SCENARIOS

1) You went out to eat for dinner. You saw a black man approach the same restaurant in which you were eating. He was directed to the back of the building. Where were you sitting? What types of people were sitting near you? How do you feel about the black man being directed to the back of the building?

2) It's 1931. You hear that the latest, greatest movie, 'Dracula' is out in theaters and you want to see it, but you cannot go! Why might you not be able to go? Who might you blame? If it were 1941, would you be more likely to be able to go?

3) You wake up and get the morning paper. The headlines read 'Negro Rapes White Woman: Trial to Follow' What is your first reaction (if you're a child, do you even know what that means?)? Do you think it's true? How do you expect the trial to go?

4) Tell about an 'average' day. Do you get up and play, or go to work? If you work, how did you get the job and what do you do? If you play, what are your toys like? If you go into town, what observances might you make? Tell more!

Your Contact is: the designated contact




Conclusion

We frequently limit our opinions and understandings of experiences to only one point of view: OUR OWN! If we take the time to consider someone else's point of view, we may realize that our perceptions of the exact same event are very different. It is important to understand that while we do not have to accept these opinions, they still exist. Often the recognition and validation of various opinions and understandings lead to a greater tolerance of and better communication with others.

This WebQuest activity was intended to help you not only learn about a different time period associated with 'To Kill a Mockingbird,' but to help you appreciate and analyze this fascinating piece of literature from a point of view outside of your own.

It is my hope that you will consider others' perceptions in addition to your own. After all, 'perception is reality.'



 created by Filamentality Content by Paige G. Elliott, pelliott@wcpss.net
http://www.kn.pacbell.com/wired/fil/pages/webthegreapa.html
Last revised Tue Jun 19 12:56:20 US/Pacific 2001