The New Deal


NCSS Standard: V: Individuals, Groups & Institutions:  How institutions are formed, what controls and influences them, how institutions control and influence individuals and culture, and how institutions can be maintained or changed.


 Performance Expectation: c. describe the various forms institutions take, and explain how they develop and change over time.

g. analyze the extent to which groups and institutions meet individual needs and promote the common good in contemporary and historical settings;



Students will:

1.      Learn about events that led up to the new deal.

2.      Learn about the important individuals that enforced the institutions and acts of the New Deal, as well as the institutions themselves

3.      Learn how acts now differ from the New Deal and what acts are still in place.

4.      Understand the needs that individuals and groups held during the depression. This includes men, women, children, wage laborers, farmers, and minorities.

5.      Understand and analyze how needs were met by the government.

6.      Analyze how government programs promoted the common good by referencing projects, their intended vs. actual results.

7.      Compare and contrast the social situation of the depression era with that of today, while referencing programs that are still in use today, highlighting what worked and what changed in the programs.



At the end of our presentation we will hand out an evaluation containing one thing the class learned, one thing we did well as teachers, and one thing we should improve on.  An option could be to give the class a short quiz that is matching and true/false.  This would allow us to see if the students learned what we taught. 



This lesson could be used in an American History class for a unit following WWI. The beginning of the unit could start with the “Roaring Twenties” and end with the beginning of WWII. This would show the extremes of prosperity and poverty in the two decades following WWI. It would also show how the economic structure of the Twenties contributed to the stock market crash and the great depression.

Our lesson on the New Deal would fit best into an American History class.  It would be good to incorporate when our class was learning about the depression.



  1. Start the lesson by giving some background knowledge on the condition of the United States and what led up to the New Deal.  People and events we will discuss include President Hoover, Bonus Army, Election of ___, and the stock market crash.
  2. We will lecture about the New Deal itself.  Information will include when it took place, who put it in place, who it affected and how it affected them (Men, Women, Children, Minorities, Families, Laborers, Farmers, etc) Included will be the needs of the people, how the New Deal helped meet those needs, and how it failed to meet those needs.
  3. Next we will describe what Roosevelt’s “Fireside Chats” were.  The class will listen to a five minute taping of an actual Fireside Chat from April 28th, 1935, about the Works Project Administration and Social Security. 
  4. In small groups, the class will discuss the Fireside Chats from questions given by the teachers.  As a large group we will discuss the Fireside Chats.
  5. Using the overhead for visual aids, we will examine the Public Works Administration, Civilian Conservation Corps, Tennessee Valley Authority, National Recovery Administration, and the Social Security Act. This will cover what they did and ways which they promoted the common good for America.
  6. I (Matt) will discuss how the different institutions and acts have changed from then to now (Social Security).  What programs have recent presidents put into place? How have they promoted the common good for America?
  7. I (Andrew) will lead a discussion, using visual aides, asking students to relate the social situations of the depression to the contemporary setting.
  8. Ask the class if they have any questions about the material we covered.
  9. Have our students complete a short quiz and evaluation about our teaching.
  10. Wrap up our teaching by giving an overview of what we did in the class and what we hoped they learned.

Discussion Questions:

What are the topics of the institutions and acts put into place during the “New Deal,”?

What are the topics of the institutions and acts put into place today?

How do these topics differ from each other?

Why do you think these topics are not the same?

How do these topics relate to each other?

Why do you think these are similar?

What program(s) do you think had the greatest affect on the country’s recovery? Which had the least affect?

If our country went through another depression, what would institutions would President Bush put into place?

70 years later, what is the most effective way for the president to reach the citizens of his country?