Great Depression Primary Sources Activities 6-Pack Print & Digital

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Zip (20 MB|24 PDF + 17 Google Slides + 7 Word pages)
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  1. Strengthen your on-level U.S. History or AP US History units with 48 1-page-or-less, high-interest primary source documents the Progressive Era to the Great Depression, World War II and the Cold War, to the Civil Rights Movement, the Vietnam War to Modern America. Each source comes with a tailored g
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Guide your students through a focused analysis of up to 6 different Great Depression primary source documents, varying from President Hoover to President Roosevelt to average citizens.

This 6-pack also comes in Google Slide format for a paperless option!

Featured voices:

- President Hoover

- President Roosevelt

- Huey Long

- American citizens

The effective HIPPOS framework directly targets Common Core critical thinking skills:

Historical Context

Intended Audience

Point of View


Outside Information

So, what?


Greatness is remembering, above all else, that leaders and constituents are real people, and treating them as such.

The Great Depression permanently changed the role of the national government in the lives of Americans to one that is sharply much more involved and at the same time, the citizens felt more connected to their leader than ever before in their joint effort to find prosperity again.

Great ideas and expertise only get one so far, whereas Roosevelt proved the sheer immeasurable importance of charisma, personality, and the human side of being a great leader.

Cut through the boring textbook and head straight to the compelling sources that make this era one of great despair, brave leadership, and the ability to talk like regular people to each other, challenging your students to wonder, “Can a president ever really talk directly to his or her people?”

Included are:

- Detailed lesson plans, with strategies for all reading levels

- 1-page definition sheet for the concept “welfare state”

- 1-page HIPPOS reference handout and BONUS skill sheet, Annotating a Text

- 6 2-page student worksheets with a short primary source document & graphic organizer sheet

- 6 accompanying HIPPOS answer keys, one for each document

- EDITABLE Word Doc with all 6 sources and generic graphic organizer sheet included to tailor to your classroom needs

- A Google Slide version of all students sheets


* If used in-class, plan for up to 60 minutes to deeply introduce, read, annotate, analyze, and discuss each document.

* These documents also can be easily assigned as part of a jigsaw or gallery walk activity, as homework, or to keep on hand for emergency sub plans!

* Depending on the included scaffolds you use, these documents can be accessed by a wide range of reading levels


Want more Great Depression?

Hoover’s 1929 & 1932 Speeches Paired Writing Analysis- challenge your students to consider the struggle to stick to one’s own core values in unprecedented times in this short document and writing exercise.

Dust Bowl Photos & Letters to Mrs. Roosevelt Activity Pack - introduce your students to the faces and lives of countless Americans and engage them with a short creative writing project!

“God Bless America” & Guthrie Paired Writing Analysis - compare with your students two songs that explore the meaning of patriotism during a period of such hopelessness in this short document and writing exercise.


Bundle and save!

1600s - 1800s 48-Pack Bundle: get 8 HIPPOS Packs, from Colonial Era to Gilded Age

1900s 48-Pack Bundle: get 8 HIPPOS Packs, from Progressive Era to Modern Era

Or mix and match

Colonial America: analyze the rough start of the English colonists, the enslaved Africans, and the invaded Indians.

Early Nationhood: juxtapose the declared values of democracy with the arguments of its outsiders.

Era of Reform: hear the impassioned voices for change.

Westward Expansion: explore the mania and the mayhem created out West.

The Civil War: contrast the two very different defenses for freedom.

Reconstruction: evaluate the successes of national policy on the individual in post-Civil War America.

Gilded Age Diversity: compare the common dreams of a developing melting pot.

Gilded Age Labor: hear the voices of those who felt unheard in this age of wealth.

Progressive Era: learn how enough passion can turn anyone into an agent of change.

Roaring 1920s: sense the growing divide between rural, traditional and urban, modern American societies.

WWII Warfront: explore the difficult decision made by political and military leaders in the fight of their lives.

Cold War: examine the word choices of leaders fighting a war of words.

Civil Rights Movement: analyze the impassioned arguments of those for and against equality.

Vietnam War: weigh the role public opinion should play in complex foreign policy.

Modern Presidents: hear how our leaders struggle unite the country.

This listing is for one license for regular classroom use by a single teacher only. In upholding copyright law, PDF resources are uneditable and resources made for Google Classroom are limitedly editable, unless otherwise stated. By purchasing a license to this resource, you have access to all future updates at no cost, available under “My Purchases". Multiple and transferable licenses are available for purchase. To request a complete terms of use prior to purchase or if you have any questions about this resource, please leave a question below under Product Q&A.

Total Pages
24 PDF + 17 Google Slides + 7 Word pages
Answer Key
Teaching Duration
1 Week
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to see state-specific standards (only available in the US).
Integrate information from diverse sources, both primary and secondary, into a coherent understanding of an idea or event, noting discrepancies among sources.
Evaluate authors’ differing points of view on the same historical event or issue by assessing the authors’ claims, reasoning, and evidence.
Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary that makes clear the relationships among the key details and ideas.
Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources, connecting insights gained from specific details to an understanding of the text as a whole.
Compare and contrast treatments of the same topic in several primary and secondary sources.


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