Fifth grade students at got a hands on lesson about what U.S. citizens faced during the Great Depression recently when they built “Hooverville” - is a shantytown made from cardboard boxes and duct tape.
“Hooverville" - named after President Herbert Hoover - helped bring to life the crisis faced by Americans after the stock market crash of 1929. To reenact the financial devastation, students not only built a makeshift town, but they also prepared homemade vegetable soup to serve in soup kitchens and stood in bread lines.
“This hands-on activity really helped the students grasp how millions of homeless people had to live in the 1930s during the Great Depression,” said Jennifer Roth, fifth grade teacher at River Eves Elementary. “Supplementing classroom instruction with this type of activity can make a big difference in how students retain and integrate information.”
Just as Americans were forced to build makeshift homes out of cardboard boxes, used car parts and wood, River Eves students were separated into small groups and worked together to build the best “standing” structure to house their “homeless” with duct tape and boxes collected from . Students also learned how the 1930’s was the start of soup kitchens and bread lines. When not building shanties, the students stood in line to receive soup that they had made in class, and bread donated by the .
“It sure must have been difficult to live in the cardboard box homes when the wind could have just blown you away and the dust being blown by the wind had to hurt your eyes,” said one fifth grade student