8th Grade New York

New Deal

By asking the compelling question “Was the New Deal a good deal?” students take on a topic with a long history and plenty of relevance for today. The inquiry uses the New Deal and the expansion of federal government programs designed to stimulate the economy and support citizens in need as a context for considering the larger question about the proper role of government. Students examine a wide range of historical sources while focusing on questions concerning the extent to which government should take care of its people.

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Compelling Question:

Was the New Deal a Good Deal?

Staging the Question: Discuss the extent to which government should take care of its people.
1

Supporting Question What conditions existed at the onset of the Great Depression?

Formative Task List the conditions that existed at the onset of the Great Depression.

Sources Source A: Excerpt from "Rugged Individualism" speech
Source B: Excerpt from “Stock Prices Slump $14,000,000,000 in Nation-Wide Stampede to Unload”
Source C: Chart of loan activity in the years leading up to the Great Depression

2

Supporting Question What kinds of programs did the New Deal create?

Formative Task Construct a graphic organizer depicting New Deal programs.

Sources Source A: Excerpt from “Outlining the New Deal Program” fireside chat

3

Supporting Question What were positive effects of the New Deal?

Formative Task Create the first half of a
T-chart listing potentially positive effects of the New Deal.

Sources Source A: “Unemployment in the United States, 1910–1960” graph
Source B: Image bank: New Deal Public Works Administration projects
Source C: Source bank: Social Security programs
Source D: ”Roosevelt Is a ‘Damned Good Man’”

4

Supporting Question What were negative effects of the New Deal?

Formative Task Complete the T-chart by listing potentially negative effects of the New Deal.

Sources Source A: Image bank: Anti–New Deal political cartoons
Source B: “National Debt as Percentage of GNP, 1929–1950”
Source C: ”The New Deal Was a Failure”

Summative Performance Task

Argument: Construct an argument (e.g., detailed outline, poster, essay) that addresses the compelling question using specific claims and relevant evidence from historical sources while acknowledging competing views.
Extension: Pursue arguments further by creating a campaign-style commercial putting forward a position on the role of government in the United States.

Taking Informed Action

Understand: Continue the discussion about the extent to which government should take care of its people.
Assess: Determine which issues are most important to students in the debate over the extent to which government should take care of its people.
Act: Conduct a survey of public officials about the role of government in taking care of its people.