Lesson Plan

Civilian Conservation Corps

A Civilian Conservation Corps crew installs fraises as part of the reconstruction of fortifications on the Yorktown Battlefield.

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Grade Level:
Middle School: Sixth Grade through Eighth Grade
Social Studies
Lesson Duration:
90 Minutes
State Standards:
State Virginia Subject USII (Social Studies) Grade Level 7th State Standards
USII.6 The student will apply social science skills to understand the social, economic, and technological changes of the early twentieth century by...
Additional Standards:
d) analyzing the causes of the Great Depression, its impact on Americans, and the major features of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal.
Thinking Skills:
Understanding: Understand the main idea of material heard, viewed, or read. Interpret or summarize the ideas in own words. Applying: Apply an abstract idea in a concrete situation to solve a problem or relate it to a prior experience. Analyzing: Break down a concept or idea into parts and show the relationships among the parts. Evaluating: Make informed judgements about the value of ideas or materials. Use standards and criteria to support opinions and views.

Essential Question

When, why, and how did the Civilian Conservation Corps affect Yorktown, Virginia?


1. Students will be able to describe a major feature of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal, specifically the Civilian Conservation Corps.
2. Students will be able to explain how the New Deal dramatically changed the lives of most Americans and began to change both their understanding of the economic system and the role of the government in American life.


The students will be completing a Break Out Edu style activity. The class will be broken into small groups, 3-5 students depending on the amount of material (number of boxes and locks) you have. These small groups will race each other and the countdown close to unlock the final prize or “Break Out” first. After the activity is over, teachers can use the shared “Break Out” signs to take pictures of the student groups in front of the countdown clock. For this lesson, there are four different locks to open. Therefore, there are four sources for students to read and analyze and an extra “clue” or quote from President Franklin D. Roosevelt to evaluate. The focus of this lesson is the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) that was established by Congress on March 31, 1933. Students will learn that the CCC provided jobs for young, unemployed men during the Great Depression. The CCC completed a variety of work, at many National Parks and even built many State Parks. However, this lesson will focus on the work completed at Colonial National Historic Park in Yorktown, VA. For all of this work, the men received around $30 per month with most of it ($25) being sent home to their families, the benefits of education and training, and the boost to their confidence for being back at work.


 Print out CCC Break Out Instructions (for teacher use)
 Print out CCC Break Out Documents (one set for each student group)
 Print out Break Out signs (to take pictures of student groups in front of countdown clock)
 Pull up countdown clock on Google and display for the class
 Prepare locks with specific combinations
 Place prize (Colonial Historic Park incentive) in the large locked box


This is for the teacher to use during the activity to follow along which clue (primary source) goes with each lock, what the answer is, and what order the clues should be unlocked with.

Download CCC Break Out Instructions

This should be printed out for students to hold at the end of the Break Out. This is a fantastic photo opportunity for the class.

Download CCC Break Out Documents

This should be printed out for students to hold at the end of the Break Out. This is a fantastic photo opportunity for the class.

Download Break Out Signs

Lesson Hook/Preview

There is a QR code clue to start the Break Out activity that features the YouTube video clip below:


1. Share with students that they have time traveled back in time to the 1930s. In order to rejoin the current year they must “Break Out” and race against the countdown clock (which can be easily found on Google and should be displayed for all to see).
2. The first clue asks students to view at least the first 5 minutes of CBS’s “On the Trail: Transforming our National Parks” (6:44 minutes) YouTube video clip. After viewing this the students will collect the large lock box (and 4 attached locks) from the teacher.
3. Follow along using the teacher CCC Break Out Instructions (attached)
 Check answers when students bring them to you
 If correct, provide next step (clue or key)
4. Award the student group that “breaks out” or unlocks the black box first
5. Take pictures with each student group in front of the countdown clock using the variety of signs provided in this lesson.


Franklin D. Roosevelt- American statesman and political leader who served as the 32nd President of the United States from 1933 until his death in 1945

New Deal- a series of programs, public work projects, financial reforms and regulations enacted in the United States between 1933-1336, as President Roosevelt’s response to the Great Depression

Civilian Conservation Corps- a public work relief program that operated from 1933 to 1942 in the United States for unemployed, unmarried men. Originally for young men ages 18–25, it was eventually expanded to ages 17–28

Archeology- the study of human activity through the recovery and analysis of material culture or artifacts

Excavation- the exposure, processing, and recording of archaeological remains

Battle of Yorktown- (Siege of Yorktown), ending on October 19, 1781, at Yorktown, Virginia, was a decisive victory by a combined force of American Continental Army troops led by General George Washington and French Army troops led by the Comte de Rochambeau over a British Army commanded by British Lieutenant General Charles Cornwallis. The siege proved to be the last major land battle of the American Revolutionary War in the North American theater.

Siege lines- a military blockade of a city, or fortress, with the intent of conquering by a well-prepared assault

Supports for Struggling Learners

There should be fewer struggling students because it is completed entirely in small groups, so teachers should be strategic when grouping students together.

Enrichment Activities

If a student is excited about the Civilian Conservation Corps, he/she can create a PowerPoint or Sway presentation that includes images, video clips, and other important information about the New Deal program.

Contact Information

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Last updated: August 8, 2018