K-12 Teaching and Learning From the UNC School of Education


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A dark-haired boy with a freckled face, his mouth held open with dental tools to show rotten teeth

(Provided by the Green 'N' Growing Collection (The History of Home Demonstration and 4-H Youth Development in North Carolina), Special Collections, North Carolina State University Libraries. More about the photograph)

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Learning outcomes

Students will be able to answer these essential questions:

  • What effect did the Depression have on the farmers of North Carolina?
  • Why did the Live-at-Home program reduce hardships of North Carolina citizens?
  • What part did the 4H program and home extensions services play in the Live-at-Home program?

Students will also be able to:

  • utilize visual data
  • consider multiple perspectives
  • analyze cause-and-effect relationships
  • hypothesize how the past has influenced present times

Teacher planning

Time required for lesson

2–3 70-minute class periods


  • student textbooks
  • a Magic Eye per student (a half-page of cardstock with a circle cut out in middle)
  • copies of various photographs from the Green ‘N’ Growing collection (see Supplemental section)
  • a copy of the photo analysis worksheet from the National Archives and Records Administration
  • copies of the article “4H and Home Demonstrations during the Great Depression
  • construction paper for bubble maps
  • magazine pictures for bubble maps
  • chart paper
  • markers

Technology Resources

  • computer with internet access
  • time in computer lab (if preferred)
  • LCD projector
  • overhead projector (if computer lab unavailable)


Before this activity students should have background knowledge of:

  • the cause of the Depression and how Presidents Hoover and Roosevelt tried to ease the suffering of United States citizens
  • the effect of the Depression on the citizens of North Carolina
  • the Live-at-Home program


Preview activity: Visual discovery

Project the picture of the Irish boy’s poor dental hygiene. Have students answer the following questions:

  • What do you see here?
  • Who are the people in this picture?
  • What is happening to the boy? Why?
  • Why might his teeth be in such poor condition?
  • How might this picture relate to the Depression? Why do you think this?

By leading students through this questioning process, you give them conceptual information they will need to better understand how the 4H program and Home Demonstrations greatly improved health conditions during the Depression.

Note: These activities can be used individually to teach critical thinking skills or how to analyze primary documents, or they could be combined for a unit of study.

Activity 1

  1. Place students in cooperative groups of three to four (depending on class size).
  2. Give each group a copy of “4H and Home Demonstrations during the Great Depression.”
  3. Students will read this article together and generate a bubble map to show the many services provided by the 4H and Home Demonstrations on construction paper. Students may choose to use words, pictures, or drawings for their bubble map.
  4. Pull the class back together to debrief the activity. Have each group share one service provided by Home Demonstrations.
  5. As a processing activity, have students ask parents or grandparents what they know about 4H and Home Demonstrations. Responses may vary widely and students’ families may not have any knowledge about these programs.

Activity 2

Note: The teacher should write each service provided by the 4H and Home Demonstrations (generated by the students) on a large piece of chart paper or on the white board. Students will be adding photo analyses under each service.

  1. As a preview for today’s activities, have students share responses from parents and relatives about their knowledge of 4H and Home Demonstrations.
  2. If you have access to a computer lab at your school, you can take students there and let them choose a picture from the many North Carolina pictures taken of Home Demonstrations and their uses during the Depression. If you do not have access, I have gathered many photographs for you to choose from and copy for students (see Supplemental section).
  3. Give each student a Magic Eye and a copy of the photo analysis worksheet. Have students analyze the picture they chose.
  4. Each student will take their photo and tape it next to the chart paper with the service they think Home Demonstrations has provided. They should also write one of the inferences they made about the photograph on the chart paper.
  5. Have students return to their groups from yesterday. Each group will do a walk-about to study the services, pictures, and inferences at each station. Have students write their own inferences about the pictures or about what life must have been like in North Carolina during the Depression. (Give each group 3–5 minutes at several or all stations, depending on the time you have.)
  6. Regroup as a class to debrief the activity:
    • What do the pictures show about the time period?
    • How are the services provided by Home Demonstrations shown in the pictures?
    • How did Home Demonstrations improve life for North Carolinians? Is this something you saw or inferred from the pictures? Students should use specific examples to defend their answers.


I’m not a traditional bubble sheet teacher. I like to have my students express themselves creatively while demonstrating what they have learned during the unit. I usually provide 2–3 activities to give students a choice.

Acrostic poem: Students will complete the acrostic poem by using the letters of the words home demonstration. Make sure the completed acrostic adheres to the following bulleted items, which should be used as a rubric.

  • Each line must begin with the next letter of the words home demonstration.
  • Each line must describe an important service or idea from the 4H or Home Demonstrations.
  • Each service or idea should be accurate.
  • Be free of spelling and grammar errors.

Letter to a friend: Students will assume the role of a young person living in rural North Carolina during the Depression. They will write a letter to a friend living in the city of Raleigh describing their life and how Home Demonstrations have helped them tolerate the Depression. Their letter should include the following bulleted items, which should be used a rubric.

  • a paragraph describing their life at the beginning of the Depression with 3–4 facts from information learned
  • details about attending a Home Demonstration such as where it was held, how many people were there, what was taught at the demonstration
  • an explanation of how they used the skills they learned from the Home Demonstration (they should describe something they made, grew, canned, etc. and how they used it)
  • accurate information
  • writing free of spelling and grammar errors

Home demonstration poster: Students will create a poster to announce a Home Demonstration coming to their community or town. Their poster should:

  • include necessary information about the location, date and time of demonstration
  • describe what will be taught at the demonstration
  • explain how the skills they learn will improve the health of their families
  • have visuals to help explain the importance of this demonstration
  • include accurate information
  • be free of spelling and grammar errors

Use the bulleted items as a rubric.


Green ‘N’ Growing photographs

Suggested reading

  • “A Legacy of Labor: The Civilian Conservation Corps.” Cobblestone, April 2005.
  • Bishop, RoAnn. “Farm and Factory Struggles.” Tar Heel Junior Historian: The twenties roar through North Carolina, Spring, 2004: 26–29.
  • Bower, Ben, and Jim Lobdell. History Alive!: The United States. Palo Alto: Teachers’ Curriculum Institute, 2002.
  • Brown, Bryan. “Black Thursday: The Great Wall Street Crash of 1929.” Junior Scholastic, 11 April, 2005: 18–21.
  • Hanson-Harding, Alexandra. “Surviving the Great Depression.” Junior Scholastic, 29 March, 2000: 18–21.
  • Powell, William S. North Carolina: A Proud State in Our Nation. Evanston: McDougal Littell, 2003.
  • Shelton, Laura. “How has farming changed in North Carolina?” Tar Heel Junior Historian: Agricultural Life, Fall 1998: 1–2.
  • Schwab, Howard J. and Charles L. Cutler. Background: An American Reader Book, (This entire booklet/magazine is a good resource.)
  • “Through the Great Depression and New Deal: Effect of the 1930s on Tar Heel Agriculture.“ Tar Heel Junior Historian: Agricultural Life, Fall 1998: 21–28.


Inclusion students can be allowed to complete an activity in small groups.

Critical vocabulary

animal husbandry: The science of breeding, feeding, and tending domestic animals, esp. farm animals.

Black Thursday: October 24, 1929, the day of the stock market crash that is generally thought to have started the Great Depression.

consumer: a person who spends money on goods and services for personal use.

depression: a period of low economic activity.

Home Demonstrations: 4H agents coming to central locations to provide training in needed areas, such as animal husbandry, food preservation, and sewing.

Live-at-Home Program: a program began by the federal government to help farmers refocus growing food crops rather than cash crops.

New Deal: measures implemented by President Franklin D. Roosevelt to compensate for the economic effects of the Great Depression.

public works program: government project to provide jobs.

relief: help given to the needy for food, clothing and shelter.

  • Common Core State Standards
    • English Language Arts (2010)
      • Speaking & Listening

        • Grade 9-10
          • 9-10.SL.2 Integrate multiple sources of information presented in diverse media or formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively, orally) evaluating the credibility and accuracy of each source.

North Carolina curriculum alignment

Social Studies (2003)

Grade 8

  • Goal 6: The learner will analyze the immediate and long-term effects of the Great Depression and World War II on North Carolina.
    • Objective 6.01: Identify the causes and effects of the Great Depression and analyze the impact of New Deal policies on Depression Era life in North Carolina.