About "CCC: A New Deal to Rebuild a Nation"


Suggested Grade Levels: Middle and High School
Time period: Late 1920s and 1930s
Topics: The Great Depression and the "New Deal" with emphasis on the Civilian Conservation Corps.

The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) was one of the most popular and successful programs of the New Deal. Shenandoah National Park is an excellent example of the CCC program. This curriculum, CCC: A New Deal to Rebuild a Nation, connects the student to the story of the CCC in the context of social, political, and economic history of the 1920s and 1930s using real places, real people, and real stories in Shenandoah National Park.

Through a combination of short movies and interactives, the unit begins with an explanation of the Great Depression, its causes and events,and then describes life in that era. It then introduces The New Deal in a national context and explains the Civilian Conservation Corps as an example of New Deal programs. Students follow a representative "recruit" through the program at Shenandoah to get a full understanding of the lasting legacy of the Civilian Conservation Corps.

This unit is the second in a two-part curriculum that connects the nation's history with the unique resources of Shenandoah National Park. The first part is Rapidan Camp: A Retreat Fit for a President. Also intended for middle and high school students, it covers the time period of President Herbert Hoover's life with an emphasis on Hoover's public service, his presidency, and the Great Depression. Rapidan Camp, President and Mrs. Hoover's "summer white house" is located within the boundaries of the park and has recently been restored. The Rapidan unit also discusses the methods and significance of protecting America's special places.

The CCC: A New Deal to Rebuild a Nation is designed to meet National and State (Virginia) educational standards in American History, American Studies, U.S. Government, Civics, and Economics.

For Virginia Standards of Learning correlations, click here. (pdf, 16 kb)

For National Standards correlations, click here. (pdf, 27 kb)

Objectives for CCC: A New Deal to Rebuild a Nation:
At the conclusion of these lessons, students will be able to

  1. present a journal with recorded insights, ideas, and revelations about the Great Depression era socially, economically, and politically.
  2. compare and contrast the economic philosophies and approaches to the crises of Republican President Herbert Hoover and Democratic President Franklin Roosevelt.
  3. describe the causes and effects of the Great Depression
  4. explain the Civilian Conservation Corps program's goals as part of the work relief programs of the "New Deal"
  5. describe the experience of a Civilian Conservation Corps enrollee.
  6. list the accomplishments of the CCC in Shenandoah National Park.
  7. describe the legacy of the CCC.

How to Use This Lesson
There are five parts, each containing a short movie, an interactive element, and suggested journaling or discussion topics and activities. Ideally, students would start at the beginning and work their way through the curriculum over the course of several class periods, or as the topic of each part becomes relevent to the teacher's syllabus.

There are many opportunities for teacher-led whole-class and student-led small group discussions, as well as assignments and projects.

Additionally, teachers can certainly pick and choose specific elements to supplement their current lesson plans.


  • Internet access
  • Computer speakers (The program contains narration, music, and other sounds. If the program is to be done in a lab, earphones are recommended.)
  • Journals (or some way for students to record their thoughts and responses)

Last updated: February 26, 2015

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