The Grapes of Wrath
Historical Background Presentations
The 1930s is an impressive decade that includes monumental events from Black
Tuesday (October 29, 1929) to the Bombing of Pearl Harbor (December 7, 1941).
Although the decade marked the worst economic collapse experienced by this
nation and unemployment peaked at nearly 25% and hovered above 15%
throughout the decade, the 1930s is a testament to the will of Americans to adapt
For this presentation students will analyze significant aspects of life in the 1930s.
This unit also provides a variety of options enabling students to go beyond the
documents and provide proof of extended understanding.
Learning Goals for this unit of study:
To explore the effects of the Great Depression and New Deal on ordinary
To understand how some aspects of American life changed during the 1930s.
To explain aspects of the cultural life of the Depression years and debate the
government's role in promoting artistic expression.
To identify cultural trends of the 1930s by analyzing the documentary expression
in the arts.
Here are some helpful links to guide the search for information:
The People History--1930s History, events, news popular culture, and technology
advances for the Depression Years of the Thirties history.
The Authentic History Center--The Authentic History Center is comprised of artifacts
and sounds from the 1930s. http://www.authentichistory.com/1930s.html
America in the 1930s--The 1930s timeline provides a multimedia event list of the
decade—some well-known and others more obscure.
The Grapes of Wrath
Be The Teacher: You will teach a 5-7 minute lesson in which you will lead a discussion
on a particular set of themes or some focused topic as it related to The Grapes of Wrath.
During this 5-7 minute period you will prepare and be ready to do the following:
* Use visual aids—video clips, handouts, posters, or PowerPoint—to help the class
think about and understand the ideas you present.
* Engage the audience verbally and visually with the use of handouts, quizzes, game
shows, puppet shows and so on.
* Show subject knowledge throughout the presentation. In other words, DO NOT READ
SLIDES OR NOTES to the audience. Tell us what you know. Reading information to the
audience will result in a “D” grade for the presentation. No exceptions.
* Be sure the sequence of material is logical and intuitive. In other words, the sequence
must follow a logical order and maintain spontaneity.
* Write a paper that contains a short summary of your findings—DO NOT COPY
AND PASTE INFORMATION—this is considered plagiarism and will receive a
ZERO. Next, the paper will include a follow-up analysis of what you set out to
accomplish, how well you accomplished this goal, and what you learned from this
experience. Finally, the paper will include a works cited page that contains at least
three different sources. The paper should be written entirely in MLA format.