Social Science Activities

These lessons incorporate the use of oral history as a resource to do social science research, write reports, create maps and timelines.

John Deere Plow, circa 1890s: Illinois State Museum CollectionJohn Deere Plow, circa 1890s: Illinois State Museum Collection

Farming During the Depression: History and Economics

The first lesson listed has students search for interview clips in which Illinois farmers talked about their experiences during the Great Depression. Students will compare several farmers' experiences, then compare them with other sources on the subject. Were Illinois farmers' experiences typical of the time, better, or worse than farmers of other areas?

Economics: Supply and Demand

The second lesson (twp pdfs) is on the concept of supply and demand as it relates to agriculture. The Ag in the Classroom pdf has a worksheet to discuss concepts. The lesson pdf uses oral histories of farmers, 1975-2009 to obtain information directly from farmers and compare to the theory.

History: Rural Electrification and Its Consequences for Food Preparation and Storage

The third lesson has students listen to interview clips about rural electrification in Illinois, research the topic from other sources, and creating an electronic spreadsheet that summarizes what they learned about technology changing everyday life.

Farmers' Views on Urbanization after World War II

Grade 6-12 students will search the ISM for interview clips about urban sprawl from the point of view of the farmers, then write and perform a newscast using a chosen downloaded clip as evidence.

History: Who Really Was John Deere?

Grade 9 Agriculture students will research John and Charles Deere and Company and teach younger students about the impact of their work.

Then and Now: Venn Diagram Comparing Children's Lives

This grade 4-7 lesson on social systems asks students to search the ISm AV interview database for clips about children's lives in the early part of the 2oth century and compare them to the students' lives.

Economics: Challenges and Opportunities of Change

Grade 12 students look for major changes in Illinois agriculture over twenty years as documented in interviews and present panel discussions on the economic opportunities and challenges that came with changes in technology, policy, social systems, and the market.

Historical Research and Persuasive Essay

Grade 12 students are asked to listen to oral interviews of Michael Scully and others on land management types (tenant farming, cash rent, land ownership) and to compare what they hear from the farmers and land owners with press reports from the 19th and 20th century about the Scully Estates and others. They will compare facts and attitudes through time.

Crop Timeline: Crops of Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow

Late Elementary students will create a timeline of crops (such as sorghum, oats, soybeans) grown from late 19th century to today based on research and oral histories. Explore reasons why some crops are dropped from production and others added.

Supply and Demand from Ag in the Classroom523 KB
Farming During the Great Depression236.11 KB
Supply and Demand467.53 KB
Electrification and Food Preparation415.53 KB
Farmers' Views of Urbanization277.59 KB
Farmers' Views of Urbanization - Forms12.54 KB
Who REALLY Was John Deere?233.24 KB
Then and Now: Children's Lives526.43 KB
Economics of Illinois Agriculture: Panel Discussion30.31 KB
Land Management: Persuasive Essay169.31 KB
Crop Timeline Activity441.27 KB