Teacher High School
Objective The Great Depression in the United States: 1929 – 1939
Research question 1) What do you know about the Great Depression in the United States in the 1930s? Discuss in pairs. Red and green circles activity.

2) Franklin Delano Roosevelt speech to the United States Congress on the 3rd January, 1934.

Class 5^

Students aged 18-19

Language level B1 and above




1. The Wall Street Crash of 1929

v  The Big Bang

v  Symbolic locations: Wall Street New York

v  The Great Depression

2. The New Deal

v  Symbolic Locations: The Tennessee Valley

3. American Presidents in the 1930s

v  Fact File: Herbert Clark Hoover

v  Symbolic locations: Hoovervilles

v  Fact File: Franklin Delano Roosevelt

4. Life in the Great Depression

v  Symbolic locations: Skyscrapers in New York City




7 hours
Types of collaboration Collaborative planning & materials development.

Content teacher and Foreign Language teacher teach separately.

Medium of instruction Content teachers use L2, switching in L1 (if necessary and appropriate) and use material in English.



Resources and materials

C. Hutchinson, A. Pinnel, S. Wright, CLIL History. The Twentieth Century, La Nuova Italia

A. Brancati, T. Pagliarini, Dialogo con la storia e l’attualità, vol. 3, La Nuova Italia

Roosevelt’s first State of the Union Address, an extract from a speech presented by the President of the United States to the United States Congress on the 3rd January 1934 (copy)

John Maynard Keynes and his theories (internet link)

Roaring Twenties (internet link)




Activity types



Reading: open-ended questions – multiple-choice exercises – reading and drawing a mind map or a diagram.

Listening: true-false exercises – taking notes – completing a diagram.

Writing: building sentences using  key words, cloze test.

Speaking: question loop – giving oral presentations – pair work and group work tasks – plenary discussion/ group discussion.

Vocabulary: using word banks – organizing words into lexical sets – noticing language


Final assessment


Check your knowledge in L2.

Type of exercises: choose the correct answer; explain in Italian the definition of key concepts; translate words into Italian; complete the paragraph with the words from the box; choose the correct alternative; translate a text into Italian.



Methodological /

Motivational strategies

Visual material

Language support and recycling


Good mix of task types

Switching into Italian where necessary

Modes of monitoring Informal discussions with students


Interdisciplinary proposals Literature: J. Steinbeck, Of Mice and Men

Economics&Business: Recession and Depression

Art: Art Deco

 CLIL Activities 

Activity A Red and green circles.
Outline Learners decide whether statements about a new topic are true or false
Thinking skills Remembering, evaluating, reasoning
Language focus Present and past tenses
Language skills Speaking
Time 15 minutes
Level B1 and above
Preparation Create a list of 10 true and false statements about a topic you are going to cover, for yourserlf. Each learner receives one red and one green cardboard circle.
PROCEDURE 1.      Give each learner one red and one green cardborad circle.

2.      Read your true/false statements out, one by one.

3.      The learners each have to decide if the statement is true (green circle) or false (red circle), and once the statement is read out, hold up a green or red circle. In classrooms with interactive whiteboards and voting software, learners can vote electronically.

4.      After each statement, you can discuss thei answers, or leave them open and repeat the activity once the lesson is over. In this (latter) way, you can check learning.

SUBJECT The Great Depression in the United States: 1929-1939
1. The Crisis started from the industries. (F)
2. The crisis was an overproduction crisis. (T)
3. The Republican party were responsable for the crisis. (T)
4. The Great Depression in the USA happened in 1930. (F)
5. Recession and depression are related. (T)
6. The New Deal was a proposal from Roosvelt. (T)
7. The New Deal suggested farmers to reduce their production. (T)
8. The Crisis effected the whole word? (F)
9. The Great Depression ended as the Second World War began. (T)
10. It is possible to predict the lenght of a recession. (F)
VARIATIONS 1.      You can also do activity with agree/disagree statements, particularly if, for example, your topic is an ethical one and you wish to motivate learners and hold their interest.

2.      You can review the answers to the questions at the end of the lesson, to help learners evaluate what they have learnerd.

3.      The activity can also be used for revision.

Tips for cross-curricular cooperation between subject and language teachers
Before lesson:

1)     the language teacher can work on the present simple tense with learners, asking examples fo present tense in a text and to explain why the present simple tense and not the present continuous is used;

2)     the language teacher can work on glossary and key concepts (Dow Jones Index, Black Thursday, Bull Market, Bear Market, Dust Bowl, Gold Standard, Prohibition).


After the lesson:

1)     learners can write their own true/false statements for each other in a language lesson;

2)     learners can organize an internet activity. For example: Roosevelt studied the theories of British Economist John Maynard Keynes and applied them to his New Deal. Search the internet to find out more about Keynes and his theories. I pairs, compare your result.

Activity B Ccomprehension. F. D. Roosevelt speech to the United States Congress on the 3rd January, 1934.
Outline The New Deal. What was the President promising? What is the message?
Thinking skills Understanding, remembering, evaluating, reasoning.
Language skills Reading, comprehension, listening.
Time 1h
Level B1 and above
Preparation Conclusion
PROCEDURE 1.      Give each learner copy of parts of the speech.

2.      Reading.

3.      The learners have to indentify the key words and the general message of the speech.

4.      Discussion, recap and summerize.

5.      Vision of a short video of the original speech, with subtitles in Italian.

SUBJECT F. D. Roosevelt speech to United States Congress on the 3rd January, 1934.



1.      Remembering the topic, identify two or three key words that underline the mood of the historical period.

2.     Rewieving the answers to the questions at the end of the lesson, to help learners evaluating what they have learnerd.

3.      The activity can also be used for revision.