I use this as a pre-test for my students. It is a writing intensive assignment, so the grading goes along with that. Of course, you could just grade for completion and skim but I am a huge nerd and I spend a lot of time giving feedback. Anyways.
After a short passage describing the Depression, the assignment asks students to research on their own at least 5 causes of the Depression. Then they need to sort and classify this information in their heads and be the judge of what cause THEY THINK is the most important. IF you were in a rush, this would be the real meat and potatoes.
Some students do try to plagiarize, but at this point in the year you should be familiar with student writing and you can catch it pretty easily.
Be sure to read the document before distributing, I say the 'due date is tomorrow' on there so be sure to change that as needed. Happy teaching! Get some grading done while they research ;)