Students graph the unemployment rates from 1928 to 2012. This helps them to visualize and understand the patterns of unemployment, and it brings about a rich discussion of the impact on our society.
This is a cross-curricular activity. I embed this into my U.S. History Great Depression unit, as it ties in with the rising unemployment rates. This is also a math activity, because students create a line graph and analyze trends.
The final component of this assignment includes 6 reflection questions. Students must comment on overall trends, highs, lows, and make predictions for future years based on the pattern. Students will also attempt to explain sudden dips and rises in unemployment throughout the past 80 years of U.S. and World history.
* Modification Note - I usually ask my students to create the graph from scratch on graphing paper. However, as a modification for some of my students, I have 'pre-made' graphing paper that is 'all set up' - all the student needs to do is label the graph, axes, and enter data points. Another more extreme modification would be to give the student the completed graph sample (included in this package), and simply require the student to answer the reflection questions independently.
* Instruction Sheet with Data and Reflection Questions
* Modified: Graph paper with labeled axes scales
* Reflection Questions Answer Key
* Final Graph Sample
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