As we look to improve the ways in which we communicate our ideas in writing, we are going to expand our understanding of the Great Depression.  One underlying learning objective of the course is the ability to compare different historical contexts for the same historical era.

With that in mind, we are going to be looking at how the Great Depression affected different countries in the hemisphere.  Your task (before Thursday morning) is to figure out which country in the Americas will be best to use as a country to compare with the United States.  Your assignment is below:

One of the requirements of the IB curriculum is that students make connections between the history of the United States of America and the history of other countries in the Americas.  With that objective in mind, your challenge is to research the ways in which other countries in the hemisphere dealt with their own economic troubles during the Great Depression.

Once you have completed your research, you will respond to ONE of the following prompts in a multi-paragraph essay of <1,600 words. We will spend time in the lab on Thursday and Friday both researching and drafting these essays.   A printed-out draft of this essay will be due at the beginning of class on Monday, February 1st.  You will be using a modified paper 3 rubric (the same one we’ve been using for our in-class essays).  The final drafts will be submitted to on Wednesday, February 3rd.  

Basic timeline:

HW for Tuesday, January 26th: Research a country to compare with our own.  Create/refine a working bibliography so you have quick-and-easy access to the documents you are finding.  Be sure to look for primary sources as well as secondary ones.  If you can’t find information about the historian, you probably have a poor source.  Stay away from Wikipedia.

HW for Wednesday, Jan. 27th: Continue to gather sources.  You should have at least five quality sources from a historian and five (additional) primary sources.

Thursday in class: You will be in the lab producing a brainstorming and starting the first draft.  Thursday’s HW is to complete a skeleton first draft of your essay (without quotes).

Friday in class: You will be in the lab finishing your first draft. Monday in class: You will arrive with a printed version of your essay and we will peer edit in class.  Today, we will edit your essay to improve the quality of your work. IF – for whatever reason – you failed to get quality comments about how to revise your work, you must seek additional peer editing comments on your own.  You will be expected to show that you received quality editing comments on your first complete draft.  Be prepared to revise your work for Monday HW.

Tuesday in class: Bring both your peer edited draft and your improved 2nd draft (it is significantly better than the first draft and incorporates quality peer editing).  HW for Tuesday is to revise and polish your essay for Wednesday submission.

Before Wednesday am – Submit your essay to before class starts.

The Class Number is: 11970109      The password is: Spartans        

Don’t get creative with your name so that it appears alphabetically in the list of students.

Wednesday Night Homework: Revise your essay and submit a final draft to  It is due before class Thursday.  Be sure to save your draft with the prompt number in the title of your document.  The next step will be your reflection.  We will do the reflections (see below) in class Thursday.

Here are the two prompts.  You must choose ONE.  Your essay will be between 1400-1600 words. Do not think that exceeding the word count is exceeding expectations. Be precise. 

  1. Compare and contrast the proposed solutions to the Great Depression in two countries in the Americas.  
  2. Examine the social and cultural impact of the Great Depression in two countries in the Americas.

Please realize that you will need to evaluate the methods used by the historians you are consulting.  With this in mind, it is particularly important for you to know who crafted the history you are using as the basis of your response.  Know the historian and analyze her.

Keep in mind that you will (after you are done with your essay) produce a reflection (400 words).  It is modeled after the IA for history – an excerpt of the rubric is provided below.

This section of the internal assessment task requires students to reflect on what undertaking their investigation highlighted to them about the methods used by, and the challenges facing, the historian.

Examples of discussion questions that may help to encourage reflection include the following.

  • What methods used by historians did you use in your investigation?
  • What did your investigation highlight to you about the limitations of those methods?
  • What are the challenges facing the historian? How do they differ from the challenges facing a scientist or a mathematician?
  • What challenges in particular does archive-based history present?
  • How can the reliability of sources be evaluated?
  • What is the difference between bias and selection?
  • What constitutes a historical event?
  • Who decides which events are historically significant?
  • Is it possible to describe historical events in an unbiased way?
  • What is the role of the historian?
  • Should terms such as “atrocity” be used when writing about history, or should value judgments be avoided?
  • If it is difficult to establish proof in history, does that mean that all versions are equally acceptable?