The Election of FDR and the New Deal

Learn about the New Deal and the election of FDR.

Teaching Objectives:

  • Students will understand some of the New Deal programs initiated by Franklin Delano Roosevelt and his administration to alleviate the effects of the Great Depression.
  • Students will understand the lasting effects of the New Deal programs.

Suggested Grade Level

5th – 8th Grade

Related Standards (from McREL’s Standards Compendium) :

  • S. History Standard 24: Understands how the New Deal addressed the Great Depression, transformed American federalism, and initiated the welfare state.
  • Language Arts Standards 7: Uses reading skills and strategies to understand and interpret a variety of informational texts.


Overview of Lesson:

  1. Teacher leads the class in a pre-reading discussion of the New Deal.
  2. Teacher distributes passages. Students read them and answer the questions that follow.  Teacher should ask students to underline or highlight key words as they read.  Teachers can also use a portion of their history textbooks.
  3. Teacher leads the class in a post-reading discussion of the New Deal.
  4. Teacher assigns one or more of the follow-up activities.


Time Needed for Lesson:

1 class period for reading, responding, and discussions.  Doing one or more of the extended activities will add another 2-4 class periods.


Pre-Reading Discussion Questions

  1. Imagine that another “Great Depression” occurred today. What actions would you expect your government to take?  Your community?  Your family and friends?
  2. In response to the effects of the Great Depression, the government instituted a plan that they called a “New Deal.” Based on the name “New Deal,” what kinds of programs do you think are included in this plan?


Post-Reading Discussion Questions

  1. What words did students highlight in the reading? Possible answers: polio, fireside chats, Inaugural Address, Works Progress Administration, Civilian Conservation Corps, Tennessee Valley Authority, etc.
  2. What role did a disability play in FDR’s life and in his decision to become president?
  3. What kind of radio program is implied by the name “fireside chats”?
  4. How would you summarize the goals of the New Deal programs?


Extended Activities

Several activities are available for students to complete as a follow-up and reflection on the lesson.  All of the activities have the option of sharing with the class when the are completed.


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