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North Carolina Era 9: Depression and War (1929-1945)

Great Depression Donations Lesson

LESSON: Great Depression Donations
UNIT: North Carolina Era 9: Depression and War (1929-1945)


LEARNING OUTCOMES:

  • Students will understand how affluent people in Western North Carolina perceived the Great Depression.
  • Students will understand that economic activity continued even during the height of the Great Depression.
  • Students will work cooperatively.
  • Students will engage in critical thinking.
  • LEARNING TARGET: “I can analyze primary sources, such as letters, to understand how people felt about the conditions of the time period.”

TEACHER PLANNING:

  • Time Needed: 15 Minutes
  • Materials/Equipment: Copies of donation letters to Mars Hill College during the mid 1930s.

PROCEDURE:

  1. Ask students “how do you think people felt about giving away money during the Great Depression?” “Did the Great Depression affect all people, rich or poor, the
    same way?”
  2. Divide students into groups (no more than four).
  3. Students will work together in groups to examine various donations letters sent to Mars Hill College during the mid-1930s.
  4. Students should consider what would motivate people to donate money during times of financial hardships, what economic class these donaters belonged to and
    how severe the Great Depression was for people in Western North Carolina.
  5. Class should reconvene together to discuss their hypotheses and share what they think of the donation letters, the motivations behind them, and the Great
    Depression in general.
  6. Review the effects of the Great Depression for North Carolina, particularly the western part of the state. Emphasize how economic activity did not simply stop.

ASSESSMENT:

  • Informal assessment based upon group and class discussion.

NORTH CAROLINA CURRICULUM ALIGNMENT:

  • 8.H.1, 8.H.2, 8.H.3, 8.E.1, 8.C&G.2

LESSON MATERIALS:

  • North Carolina Era 9: Depression and War (1929-1945): Great Depression Donations: Mars Hill Donation Letters can be found here.

Postcards from Mars Hill

LESSON: Postcards from Mars Hill
UNIT: Era 9 – Depression and War – 1929 - 1945


LEARNING OUTCOMES:

  • The learner will analyze postcards of a college
  • The learner will evaluate what the postcards are attempting to portray

TEACHER PLANNING:

  • Time needed: 15 minutes
  • Materials/Equipment: prepare packets of the postcards for groups (of 4 or 5) –these should be in color

PROCEDURE:

  1. Ask students what postcards are for. [Most will indicate that they are to write short notes to friends and family from a travel destination.]
  2. Explain that these ‘linen postcards’ and were often used as souvenirs or to ‘show’ a place to a person who was not likely to visit. Photography was not the same as it
    is today, with everyone having a camera in their phones. [Linen postcards were produced in great quantity from 1931 to 1959. Despite the name, linen postcards
    were not produced on a linen fabric, but used newer printing processes that used an inexpensive card stock with a high rag content, and were then finished with a
    pattern which resembled linen. The face of the cards is distinguished by a textured cloth appearance which makes them easily recognizable. The reverse of the card
    is smooth, like earlier postcards. The rag content in the card stock allowed a much more colorful and vibrant image to be printed than the earlier "white border" style. Due to the inexpensive production and bright realistic images they became popular…Even though the images on linen cards were based on photographs, they contained much handwork of the artists who brought them into production. There is of course nothing new in this; what it notable is that they were to be the last postcards to show any touch of the human hand on them.]
  3. Pass out the packets of postcards from the Justin Wells and Noland collections.
  4. Ask the students to examine them and determine what they were trying to portrayand each group is to list five.
  5. Go over as a group.
  6. Ask students how we determined the approximate date for these cards. [Edna Moore was completed in 1937. One of the cards has ‘Edna Moore New Dormitory.’]
  7. Would these postcards be successful today? Why or why not?
  8. Ask students to compare the postcards with the campus today. What would they photograph to emphasize Mars Hill University today?

ASSESSMENT:

  • Collect the lists from each group.
  • Student discussion and participation.

EXTENSION/DIFFERENTIATION ACTIVITIES:

  • This could easily be teamed with a lesson on advertising and how places attract
    visitors.

LESSON MATERIALS: