The Great Depression: Teaching Resources & Activities

History holds many economic lessons. The Great Depression, in particular, is an event that provides the opportunity to teach and learn a great deal about economics—whether you’re studying the economic reasons that the Depression took place, the factors that helped it come to an end or the impact on Americans who lived through it.

Educators, here are top resources and activities for teaching about the Great Depression (middle school, high school and college). These high-quality resources are free and prepared by Federal Reserve Economic Education experts.

The Great Depression Online Modules for High School: Our Great Depression lessons are available as online modules in the Econ Lowdown Teacher Portal. They include:

To register your students for one or more of the modules, visit the Econ Lowdown Teacher Portal.

The Great Depression Curriculum and Lesson Plans: The curriculum begins with a message from Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and an introductory essay, “The Great Depression: An Overview,” written by David C. Wheelock, a research economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis and an expert on the Great Depression. The essay is incorporated into many of the lessons, as students are asked to read and refer to various sections of the essay.

Following the essay, the curriculum includes six stand-alone lessons, allowing the teacher to pick and choose the lessons most appropriate for his or her students. Although each lesson is written to stand alone, the lessons are sequenced for instruction so that a teacher can use the entire unit.

Activities: Printable crossword puzzle and word search activity, including answer keys.

The Great Depression Resource Hub: Additional materials materials and resources to assist in the understanding of the Great Depression and how it relates to the recent recession. Included are video interviews with St. Louis-area residents who lived through the Great Depression, photos taken during the depression, activities, a glossary, and links to lesson plans and other teaching materials and resources related to the Great Depression.


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Education Level: 9-12 Non-educators 6-8 College
Subjects: History Data Literacy
Concepts: Great Depression
Resource Types: Primary Source Document Data Online Module Website Lesson
Languages: English
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