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How to
Use the Activities


Inquiry Question

Historical Context




Table of

Putting It All Together

That Springwood was the keystone in Franklin Delano Roosevelt's public as well as private life is apparent. In fact, some very dramatic events in American history transpired at Springwood. The following activities are designed to help students understand these assertions.

Activity 1: Lifestyles
Divide the class into teams. Explain that the teams will be researching an aspect of life in the late 19th century, with 1882, the year of Franklin Roosevelt's birth, as the target date. Let the teams choose from a list of broad categories such as: Transportation, Clothing, Food, Home Life, Public Health, Communications, Politics, Industrial Labor, Religion, etc. Ask each team to conduct research in books, magazines, newspapers, photographs, and/or any other sources they can find. Students may use local sites, libraries, historical societies, and the Internet to locate materials applicable to their topic. Direct each group to report on its chosen topic, comparing and contrasting it with contemporary life. Students may present their comparisons through drawings or photographs, written reports, skits involving objects or costumes, charts, computer slide-shows, or other means. After their presentations, ask the class as a whole to discuss the changes in lifestyle that must have occurred during Franklin Delano Roosevelt's lifetime, between 1882 and 1945.

Activity 2: Remembering When
Students may choose either option in completing this activity.

A. Have students team up in pairs to be an interviewer and a cameraperson. Each pair should arrange to conduct an oral history interview with a willing senior citizen who remembers life during the Depression. All students participating in this activity should meet as a group and develop a common list of questions to ask during interviews. Videotaped interviews will have the greatest impact, but snapshots and a written interview in a newspaper article format or an audiotape also provide valuable learning experiences. Ask the teams to share their interviews with the class and to explain what they learned from an eyewitness that they could not learn from a textbook. If there is student and administrative support, consider establishing a school-based repository for oral histories of the Depression.

B. Ask students to look for WPA-funded projects still existing in their community. Possibilities include post offices, schools, bridges, parks, stadiums, bandshells, etc. Students may turn to local historical societies, old newspapers, and published guides to WPA projects for help in locating a project. Once the students have identified a project, they should research how and why the project was undertaken in their community. They should describe in words and/or artwork or photography the project as it originally was constructed and as it exists today. They should also assess the impact, if any, that the project had on the community in the past and now. Students should report to the class what they have learned about the WPA in their community.



Comments or Questions

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