Hickerson Elementary School’s fifth grade classes got a hands-on look at what it was like to live during the Great Depression on a sunny but cold, windy day last week when the students built a Hooverville shantytown on the campus lawn using supplies consistent with the period.
“We’ve combined our science and social studies classes for the past two days,” said Hickerson teacher Randa Prater. “The construction aspect is science and social studies covers the history of the Hoovervilles and the Great Depression.”
As a follow up, the students will read texts relating to the time period and a math project related to scaling their Hooverville models.
Students brought disposable construction materials for their houses from home. But everything had to be available in the 1930s.
“One group found pallets behind the school and asked if they could use them,” Prater said.
“They are bartering, trading for what they need,” she said.
The makeshift “dwellings” were built last Wednesday afternoon and stayed up overnight.
“Hooverville” is the slang term for homeless shelters built during the Depression. They took the name in reference to President Hebert Hoover who was president during the onset of the Depression and blamed for it.
This multi-disciplined approach allows for more thorough exploration of a subject.
“Cross-curricular instruction allows students to make connections across subject areas,” Prater explained. “Rather than learning in subject based silos, students learn in authentic scenarios which leverage multidisciplinary skills - which is necessary for the truest and most deep learning to take place.”