Beacon Lesson Plan Library

The Stock Market and the Great Depression

Jillian Eriksson
Lee County School District


The Students will play the stock market for two weeks in order to better understand how stocks work. The game will help the students understand a major cause of the crash in 1929.


The student understands social transformations that took place in the 1920's and 1930's, the principal political and economic factors that led to the Great Depression, and the legacy of the Depression in American society.


-Stock Market Game activity sheet (Class Set)
-Daily copies of the local newspaper for two weeks
-Internet accessible computers
-Several copies of a current newspaper
-Outline of notes on Herbert Hoover's policies (Class Set)
-American History textbook


1. Make copies of the Stock Market Game activity sheet.
2. Write the websites on the board that you are using.
3. Search the words the students are to look up before this lesson so that you can direct the students on writing their summaries.
4. Have copies of the newspaper in classroom.
5. Have a stock picked to use as an example.


1. Brainstorm with the students using the following prompts: What are stocks? What is the stock market?

2. Read a definition of the word stock and the stock market.

3. Expand these definitions by giving class notes on them.

4. Have students go to website on the computers.

5. Go to the link on the history of the NYSE and read.

6. Have students search this website to better understand the stock market.

7. Using the Britannica website, have the students look up the terms call money, speculation, buying on margin. Have students write down definitions.

8. Using the same website, look up Black Tuesday October 24, 1929, and have students write a four-sentence summary about the stock market crash.

9. Pass out the Stock Market Game activity sheet to the students.

10. Read together the objective and the rules.

11. Pass out the copies of the newspaper and have students open them to the business section.

12. Using any company as an example, show the students how to find the company name, ticker symbol, and closing price.

13. Have each student pick a stock they want to buy using fictitious money borrowed from their broker and fill in the information.

14. Each day, for two weeks, allow the students to check the progress of their stock using the daily newspaper or NYSE website. The students track the stock by filling in the activity sheet.

15. At the end of the two weeks, have the students complete the questions about their stock.

16. Share the best and worst results with the class.

17. Explain that they bought their stock on speculation and with call money, just as the investors did in the 1920's before the crash.

18. Write this prompt on the board: Why didn't the government try to stop the crash? Have the kids brainstorm ideas. This will be easy since they live in a society where the government is involved in business affairs.

19. Pass out the outline on Hoover's Administration which is in the attached file.

20. Using their textbooks and your lecture, fill in the outline and answer the question at the bottom of the page.


Total points for activity sheet are twenty points (Two points for each answered question on the back. Eight points for completing the tracking of the stock. Four points for picking a stock and filling in the information on the stock.)

Web Links

Web supplement for The Stock Market and the Great Depression

Web supplement for The Stock Market and the Great Depression

Web supplement for The Stock Market and the Great Depression
Online Dictionary

Attached Files

Stock Market Game Worksheet.     File Extension: pdf

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