History Apprentice Week 5: The Great Depression

Writing Assignment

This week is the last week of writing. Don’t cheer too loud, you might hurt my feeling. 😉 This week write your last paragraph…. Asia!


Read the section titled “Black Tuesday and a New Deal” in STOW

Watch this Youtube video of firsthand accounts from people who lived through the Great Depression — pay attention to the fascinating historical photos!

Read this article to help add some more detail to your STOW reading about the depression.

ALSO: Tommy, Douglas, Truman, Marilee and Evee — you need to have your commercial prepared for presenting!!


Go back over those notes and write up the who, what, why, when, where and how of the Great Depression. This will probably be pretty easy because this is such a BIG topic to write into a concise 500 words.

Click here to access the newspaper template you will be using for this class.

Just like last month these are the guidelines for your article, please read this carefully:

  • The requirements for this assignment are to first, write a headline and create an article for the main story. The main story must cover the Who, What, Why, When and Where of the Great Depression. Working with the 8.5 type size in the template means this article is less than 500 words! Do not be intimidated, that is not a lot of words. I do expect you to use that space but you may adjust your font size to be 7.5 or 9.5 if that is helpful. We are going to get really good at summarizing and learning key points this school year by working on these newspaper articles each month. I do not expect you to write in newspaper style because we haven’t taught that to you — just write an informative 500 (ish) words covering the 5 w’s of the Great Depression. (Keep it between 400- 500 words)
  • NEXT, you get to write a sub-article for the sidebar. This sub-article is of a topic of your choosing. I want you to pick a topic dealing with events, people and places that are related to the Great Depression. Things that may spark your interest could be: government relief programs, President Hoover, Hoovertowns, employment and wage controls, dust bowl, resilient people/stories, the New Deal, world impact from the Great Depression, the standard of living in the 1920’s and it’s contribution to the depression, Franklin D. Roosevelt, fireside chats, the impact of the great depression on literature and/or music, migrant workers, black Tuesday, Eleanor Roosevelt and MORE.
  • Both articles need to have a photograph — that’s what the green and blue box is for. I would like you to use a historical photo for both spots! We have entered the era where we can actually see photos of this time period so we’re going to seek out and use those photos. A simple google search will bring up ample photographs for you to use.

IN CLASS you will be put in groups to share your sidebar article! Each group will vote on the most interesting article they heard in their group. Yes, I understand that “interesting” is a relative word — this could mean that your article was very articulate or written in a fascinating way. It could mean you chose a really unique topic. It could mean that you chose something your classmates had never learned about before. So the goal is to be consise and interesting 🙂 Each group will send their “most interesting” representative to read their article for the entire class.

Tip for success: Practice reading your article out loud (both of them) to hear how they flow and catch any mistakes. Also, I recommend having a parent proofread them AND do not go over the space limit. I know this is so hard because some of these topics are so deep and fascinating BUT it is a great life skill to be able to study, discern key details and craft an interesting summary. That’s the goal!


I would like you to read the excerpt from this talk by Elder L. Whitney Clayton (it looks long but it’s only a fraction of the entire talk). As you read I want you to ask yourself what is ONE action you can take this week to become more rooted in Living Water. What is it you feel God calling you to do to become closer to him? Focusing on daily prayer? Digging deeper in your scriptures? Participating and testifying in Seminary or church? Let the spirit guide and choose one way that you can draw upon living water more deeply this week. And guess what? I know that the become/serve section of the blog can feel like “fluff” work or “easy” work or it’s the stuff that you can half-heartedly do since we never “check” your work on this section. I want to let you know that the most important work you will ever do will always be the unseen spiritual work and that what you put into this assignment will reflect what you get out of it 🙂

The Sermon of the Seedlings

First, the sermon of the seedlings:

Kathy and I live on a hill on the east side of Salt Lake City, in a home that was built by her parents. A species of tree grows there that is native to the foothills around Salt Lake City—we call it scrub oak. Unlike the large and mighty oak trees known in many parts of the world, scrub oak trees never get tall or big, but they are hardy and beautiful. Our neighborhood is filled with them.

A few years ago we placed a large flowerpot on the walkway that leads to the front door to our home, under the branches of a scrub oak tree. We planted colorful flowers in the pot and enjoyed their beauty during the summer months. When the season changed and fall began, the scrub oak tree began to drop its seeds, or acorns, and a few fell in the flowerpot.

One fall day as I was caring for the flowers, I noticed that a few little seedlings had sprouted from the acorns that had fallen into the pot. Even though it was late in the flower season, we didn’t want anything but flowers in the pot, so I started to pull the seedlings out of the potting soil. When I pulled, the tender seedlings quickly came up out of the loose soil. To my surprise, the seedlings already had roots that were much longer than the seedlings themselves were. The roots were three or four times longer than the visible part of the seedlings above the surface. Nature had designed the scrub oak seeds to expend almost all of their energy putting down roots.

It seems obvious why this is so: While the spring and fall are comfortable in Salt Lake City, the summers are hot, with little rainfall, and the winters are cold, with lots of wind and snow. The deep roots help the seedlings thrive by getting down through the surface soils quickly. This allows more exposed root to draw moisture and nutrients from the soils. The deep roots also firmly anchor the trees to hold them erect and steadfast in the wind, beginning when they are very young. The roots help those sturdy trees weather both winter storms and the heat of summer days. Deep roots make survival easier for the scrub oak. As the seedlings eventually grow to their full height, their roots continue to nourish, protect, and sustain them.

We can take a lesson from scrub oak. We should enjoy the beautiful spring and fall but always remember that harsher weather will soon arrive. Hot summer days inevitably follow the spring, and chilly winter days trail the fall. That is the pattern of nature. It is also the pattern of our lives. While we enjoy seasons of ease, comfort, and happiness, we should be prepared for the trials of life that lie ahead.

No matter where our home may be, we all have some experiences that are like hot summers and like cold winters. We have easy times and hard ones, successes and failures, times of health and sickness, periods of happiness and moments of grief and sorrow. Life isn’t static. It isn’t smooth. We all have moments that disappoint and others that delight.

Life is similar for us all in other regards as well. We are all surrounded by the culture and traditions of our native communities and countries. Some of those influences are good and some aren’t. Some will lift us and others will diminish and degrade us. Our homes may be blessed by the light of the gospel or be blighted by failure to keep the commandments of God. The examples of friends may be terrific or terrible. None of us knows exactly where life will take us. We can’t fully predict our future health or wealth. We can’t foretell the influence of war or weather. There are cycles and seasons to life. Variable circumstances beyond our control press challenges on all of us.

Unlike trees, we can choose and deliberately develop the spiritual root structure of our lives. We decide where to set our roots down and how deeply to sink them into the soil. Daily decisions make tiny, almost imperceptible differences in the roots of our faith, the effect of which becomes foundational. Because we don’t know when or how our own challenges will come, or how long our personal seasons of winter or summer will last, we should set down our roots as deeply as we can into the only true source of nourishment for our souls, the Lord Jesus Christ. He wants our lives to be abundant. He invites us to come unto Him. He said, “Learn of me, and listen to my words; walk in the meekness of my Spirit, and you shall have peace in me.”7

We build strength of soul to weather the storms of our lives by learning of Him. We learn by study and by prayer. We learn by watching righteous examples. We learn as we serve others in order to serve Him.8 We learn as we seek to emulate Him in any way we can.

Listening means heeding and hearkening, not just hearing. We listen to Him in private scripture study. We listen in sacrament meeting and in the temple. We hear Him in the “still small voice.”9 We listen to Him in the voice of living prophets and apostles. Careful listening reminds us that “man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.”10 We strengthen our roots with incremental, one-step-at-a-time growth. As we listen, we follow the path He walked. He is the beginning and the end of the path that leads to the abundant life. He is the entire path and the light that illuminates it.11 He is “the way, the truth, and the life.”12

There is no secret, there is no surprise about what we can and should do to develop our roots: we keep the commandments of God. While we can quickly rattle off a list of things we should do, we all find it is easier to enumerate them than to do them. Our ability to do His will grows as we do His will. It becomes easier because we grow in conviction and faith. When we faithfully persist in applying the fundamentals of the gospel in our lives, the Lord blesses us with increased inner strength.

Worthy, thoughtful worship makes an important contribution to the depth of our spiritual roots. Reverently attending sacrament meeting and partaking of the sacrament with real intent make the Sabbath day more than just another Sunday. We cannot truly sink our roots deep unless we “always remember him.”13 When we prepare ourselves before our meetings, then the Sabbath becomes a richer experience for us. As we contemplate our need for forgiveness and the blessing of always having the Spirit to be with us, we begin to see the chapel as a sanctuary and the sacrament as a time of sanctification.

For that reason there are some things we should always take with us when we go to Church. Foremost among these are a broken heart and a contrite spirit. We should go eager to seek and feel the blessings of the Atonement. Similarly, we should always leave some things at home. Thoughts of sports, work, entertainment, and shopping ought to be left locked in a closet inside our homes to be opened on any day other than the Sabbath day. Genuine worship promotes real conversion. It helps send the roots of our faith down deep, where we find a spiritual reservoir, which “shall be in [us] a well of water springing up into everlasting life.”14

Paul wrote:

“As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him:

“Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught.”15

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