The New Deal

Teacher Guide by Matt Campbell

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The New Deal Lesson Plans

Student Activities for The New Deal Include:

Between 1933 and 1938 a series of domestic reforms were enacted in order to help the American economy persevere through the Great Depression. The New Deal is best remembered as a period in American History where the relationship between the government and the people were intertwined in order for both to get back on their feet again.

The New Deal Lesson Plans, Student Activities and Graphic Organizers

5 Ws of the New Deal

For this activity, students will create a spider map that represents and defines the key background questions related to the New Deal. This activity can serve as either anticipatory guide where teachers may want to see what students know about the material before studying in class, or this could serve as a summative assessment to complete at the end of the unit.

Example 5 Ws for The New Deal

Who Created the New Deal?

The New Deal was created by the Congress along with numerous executive orders directly issued by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

What Was the New Deal?

The New Deal was a series of sweeping programs between 1933 and 1945. The aims of these social, economic, and political programs were to provide recovery to the economy, relief to those in need, and reform to the flaws of the economic system.

Where Did the New Deal Affect?

The New Deal impacted almost every American; however, it focused on certain sectors that were hit the hardest during the Great Depression. The Great Depression hit hardest on the agricultural sector, so programs like the Agricultural Adjustment Act greatly benefited those struggling.

When Was the New Deal?

The New Deal spanned between 1933 and 1938. The programs were soon enacted following the election of FDR in 1932, along with the rise of the Great Depression.

Why Was the New Deal Created?

The New Deal was created to help America rise from the Great Depression. The New Deal aimed to not only help the current problems, but create a plan to avoid similar economic pitfalls in the future.

Extended Activity

For this extended activity, students should create a spider map that details and represents the 5Ws of the Great Depression. As the Great Depression is seen as the impetus for the New Deal, having students begin with the Great Depression may be a very useful classroom strategy.

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New Deal Programs

Students will create a spider map that represents three New Deal programs. Students should include a brief description of the program along with a visualization of either the problem the program was addressing or the solution to that problem. In order for the class to be able to share this information with one another, it may be helpful to list the programs on the board and have students select the three they are going to choose. By having students select the programs together initially, it will allow that each program is selected at least once.

WPA - Works Progress Administration

The Works Progress Administration was the most significant program of the New Deal in terms of providing Americans with jobs. Over three million Americans were provided with jobs, such as road and building construction, along with many more.

CWA - Civil Works Administration

The Civil Works Administration was created under the Federal Emergency Relief Administration (FEMA). Despite being a temporary program, within two years, CWA workers had created or repaired 12 million feet of sewer pipe, 255,000 miles of roads, 40,000 schools, and 3,700 playgrounds.

CCC - Civilian Conservation Corps

The Civilian Conservation Corporation was a New Deal program for young men aged 17-28. These men were provided with shelter, food, and a small wage in exchange for labor related to irrigation, flood control, structural improvements, and forest fire prevention.

Extended Activity

After students have completed the Programs of the New Deal activity, students can copy their initial storyboards and replace the text from the description and replace it with their analysis of the program. Students should describe their opinion as to whether they believe the program was an overall success or failure and include the reasons why. Students may also rank their three programs first, second, and third, depending on which they viewed as their favorite program and which one they believe is the least effective.

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The New Deal Timeline

For this activity, students will create a timeline that represents the major events that led to and occurred during the New Deal. Students should research the numerous economic aspects that led to the Great Depression and include the numerous strategies and programs that the Federal Government undertook to alleviate the harsh struggles faced during the Depression.

Possible Events To Use:

  • Stock Market Crash
  • Inauguration of FDR
  • The Dust Bowl
  • Fireside Chats
  • Food Strikes
  • Memorial Day Massacre
  • Passage of FDIC
  • End of Prohibition
  • “First Hundred Days”
  • Publication of Grapes of Wrath
  • Tennessee Valley Authority Enacted

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The Three Rs: Relief Recovery Reform

In this activity, students will define numerous New Deal programs as falling under one of the three strategies proposed by President Roosevelt as “relief”, “recovery”, or “reform”. Students may choose the events that they researched from the Programs of the New Deal activity or choose entirely new programs. For each storyboard, students should create a visualization of the program and include whether the program falls under “relief”, “recovery”, or “reform”. As shown in the example, students should also display a text box which shows “relief”, “recovery”, or “reform”. This activity will help students understand the effects of the New Deal, both on the American people and infrastructure.


CWA - Civil Works Association

The Civil Works Association provided relief to Americans by providing them with jobs that focused on the repair of bridges and roads.


TVA - Tennessee Valley Authority

The Tennessee Valley Authority was created by the Federal Government in 1933 and helped to provide recovery to the Tennessee Valley with electricity generation, flood control, irrigation, and economic development.


FDIC - Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation

The FDIC's goal was to give Americans confidence in the American banking system following the Wall Street Crash. The FDIC reformed the banking system by insuring depositors of insurance banks in case the banks were to go bankrupt again.

Extended Activity

For this extended activity, students should research contemporary programs established by the Federal Government. For each of the programs students research, they should complete the activity again where they need to describe what the program does and whether it is a relief, recovery, or reform. Students should be encouraged to select programs that either impacts their lives directly or is focused on a topic that is of interest to them.

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Relief, Recovery, Reform

Soon after taking office, President Roosevelt promoted his New Deal program which would emphasize the “3 Rs”: relief, recovery, and reform. Although the New Deal has been seen as a controversial series of legislation enacted by the federal government, there is no question that these reforms saved lives and provided jobs to those in dire need throughout the 1930s. The Federal Government’s actions under the New Deal to keep the American economy and society alive remains a topic of intense study throughout America’s economic, political, and social battles today.

In this unit, students will be exposed to numerous economic, political, and social reforms established under the New Deal. Students will see how the Federal Government stepped into American society in order to alleviate the numerous problems caused by the Great Depression. Students will begin with an anticipatory activity that will introduce them to the background questions of the New Deal. Students will research and then analyze the programs created under the New Deal.

Students will also have the opportunity to step back from the perspective of just the 1930s and be able to look back at the problems created prior to the Wall Street Crash on October 29th, 1929. Students will also look at our modern society and analyze the role the Federal Government plays in our daily lives. Students will be encouraged to not only make connections between the New Deal and our modern society, but also analyze and argue both for and against the role our government plays in our lives today.

Essential Questions for the New Deal

  1. What was the Great Depression?
  2. What was the new deal?
  3. What were the goals of the New Deal?
  4. How did the New Deal change the role of government?
  5. How did New Deal programs affect those in need?

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