"Riding the Rails" is such a powerful documentary, filled with primary resources, first hand accounts and period pictures and video. Every year I use selected clips from this excellent PBS documentary to help my students feel connected to people who lived through the 1930's. My students are always amazed at what young people their age experienced riding the rails and love completing the activity to see if they would have survived the "hobo life."
PLEASE NOTE this activity is designed to accompany the Riding the Rails documentary. I DO NOT INCLUDE THE DOCUMENTARY WITH THIS RESOURCE. The documentary is available on various digital formats as well as for purchase at a very reasonable price from PBS.org.
Included in your purchase is a lesson plan, the activity sheet, and the key to the sheet. The activity sheet includes questions to accompany viewing the documentary, a short simple simulation where students find out if they would have survived riding the rails in the 1930's, and a short writing prompt. Best of all, the simulation can operate without having to watch the documentary! Give this a try today and watch your students become engaged in the struggles faced by the young people of the 1930's!