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America: The Story of Us ~ Episodes 8 "Boom" and 9 "Bust" Lesson Plans

Only two more units to go, and I will wrap them both up in this post. (Well there are actually five left, but I only completed lesson plans through the next two.) This was as far as we were able to get in the series this year. We were at the end of our school year and Dawson was ready to move on to his unit-of-choice: knights.

The next two units in the America: The Story of Us series were Episode 8: Boom and Episode 9: Bust, or better known as The Roaring 20's and The Great Depression. We spent three weeks combined on these two units.

Our book for both units was The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. I had never read this book before and I thought it was an excellent portrayal of the good and bad of the 20's. The symbolism was astonishing and meaty, and I recommend having your student do an essay on the symbolism in the piece. I wish I would have done that with Dawson.

We watched both Episodes 8 and 9, did the discussion questions/video quiz for the episode and vocabulary words. These can be printed by going here. The Episode Guides are down the left hand column on the site.

All "notebooking pages" are printed from Advanced World History Vol. 2 from Hold that Thought!

All "America's Heritage" references are materials printed from America's Heritage: An Adventure in Liberty by The American Heritage Education Foundation, Inc.

Dawson also does Internet research to help him obtain information for his note booking pages. He is required to write 8-9 sentences since he is in the 9th grade.

We did the following activities:

* Read the 18th Amendment and discussed Prohibition
* "Booze, or Get on the Water Wagon" from the Episode Guide
* Prohibition notebooking page
* Carry A. Nation notebooking page
* Al Capone notebooking page
* Photo Analysis of the Model T
* Henry Ford notebooking page
* Roaring 20's Timeline project: Ohio Department of Education
* "The Migrant Mother" photo analysis
* Hoover Dam virtual tour 
* Mount Rushmore editing assignment
* Hoover Dam notebooking page
* Mount Rushmore notebooking page

Books Read (maybe not the whole book, but reading through it for notebooking pages and general information):

* The 1920's Decade in Photos: The Roaring 20's, by Jim Corrigan
* The Life and Times of Al Capone, by Tom Stockdale
* Migrant Mother: How a photograph defined the Great Depression, by Don Nardo
* The Dust Bowl: An Interactive History Adventure, by Allison Lassieur

Videos Watched:

* Scarface (1932)

* The Great Gatsby (1974)

** FYI: a new The Great Gatsby is being released in December 2012 starring Leonardo DeCaprio, Carey Mulligan, Tobey Maguire, and Isla Fisher.

I hope that you have enjoyed these lesson plans and have found them useful. As stated previously, there are a total of 12 videos/units in the America: The Story of Us series. We completed formal lessons through the 9th video and then just watched the 10th, 11th and 12th without doing any lessons with them.

I truly believe that following the lesson plans I have provided for America: The Story of Us would MORE than qualify for a full credit in American History. In fact, I know that the materials we covered greatly exceeded the PASS objectives for the State of Oklahoma.

This series was rich and meaty and moving. Dawson and I learned so much about our nation's history, more than I have ever learned in my 40+ years. I highly encourage you to use the video series and my recommended lesson plans for your student. You and your student will be so glad that you did.

May God bless you, and may God bless America.

** These lesson plans were based on planning for an American History course for a 9th grade boy. I allow some activities to be under his grade level and some to be above in order to give him a fun, exciting, and well-rounded understanding of the materials.

Previous Lesson Plans Posted:
Lesson 1 ~ (Episode 1) Rebels
Lesson 2 ~ (Episode 2) Revolution
Lesson 3 ~ (Episode 3) Westward 1
Lesson 4 ~ (Episode 3) Westward 2
Lesson 5 ~ (Episode 4) Division
Lesson 6 ~ (Episode 5) Civil War 
Lesson 7 ~ (Episode 6) Heartland 
Lesson 8 ~ (Episode 7) Cities


  1. Wow - I'm adding the new version of The Great Gatsby to my list of upcoming films I'd like to see - some talented actors in there!

  2. Nicole, I only printed the plans through the Civil War and can no longer find them linked on the History Channel website- do you have a current link? I emailed the site, but have not heard back. I am going to be so bummed if they are gone!

  3. Is there another link for the study guides? It takes me to the History channel website but the study guide links don't work. I was just wondering if there is a new one. Thanks!

  4. History channel website isn't allowing the study guides to be printed. Is there a new link?

    1. Definitely just Google it. I found these guides several places to print for free, or you can purchase them from TeachersPayTeachers.

  5. I am not aware of the study guides being anywhere else at this time. You might be able to google them and see if you can find them. I'm sorry.

  6. Really enjoyed all these posts and look forward to doing something really similar for my 6th grader. Thank you for taking the time to write it all up and share with us.


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