Civilian Conservation Corps


Civilian Conservation Corps



Washington State Library, Office of the Secretary of State

Grade Levels


In this focused inquiry, students investigate the question Can history textbooks tell the whole story?

Students engage in analysis of images of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), annotation of sources, small and large group discussion, and develop and addendum to their textbook about the CCC.

Lesson Objectives

  • Students will use analytical skills to understand the role of the Civilian Conservation Corps in Washington.
  • Students will develop an addendum to their textbook that corrects things that the textbook got wrong and uses more Washington specific examples of where the text was correct.
  • Students will develop a poster that shares the uniqueness of the CCC in Washington State.



Common Core English Language Arts Standards, History/Social Studies
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.6-8.1.  Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources.
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.6-8.7.  Integrate visual information (e.g., in charts, graphs, photographs, videos, or maps) with other information in print and digital texts.
College, Career, and Civic Life Framework
(See C3 Framework to adjust to the grade level of the audience of this lesson)
  • D2.His.10.6-8.  Detect possible limitations in the historical record based on evidence collected from different kinds of historical sources.
  • D2.His.13.6-8.  Evaluate the relevancy and utility of a historical source based on information such as maker, date, place of origin, intended audience, and purpose.


Focused Inquiry

Staging the Question

Compelling Question:  Can history textbooks tell the whole story?

Have the students listen to the podcast “Did the Civilian Conservation Corps improve the lives of the nation’s youth?” (Podcast is around 10 minutes so you may want to use only parts of it.)

While the students are listening to the podcast, have them take notes on the following questions:

  • What surprised you about what the podcast said?
  • What challenged, changed, or confirmed what you already knew about the CCC?
  • What questions do you now have about the CCC?

Background to share with the students:  Students should have an understanding of the following ideas and events:
  • Great Depression
  • New Deal
  • President Franklin D. Roosevelt
Formative Performance Task

Supporting Question:  What was daily life like for people in CCC camps in Washington?
  • Students should begin with a reading of the CCC section in their textbook. If there is not one, teachers can pull a brief article about the CCC. (The History Channel has a short article that may be useful).
  • Students will analyze the images from the 1937 CCC annual. Have the student complete the attached graphic organizer for four of the images.
  • Once the students are done analyzing images, have the student discuss what they are seeing in the images and whether or not what is in the pictures aligns with what their textbook or the podcast tells them about the CCC.
  • In a large group discussion, have student share out where what they saw confirms what the podcast or their textbook tells them and where what they see challenges what they already know. 
Taking Informed Action

Argument:  After the analysis and the small and large group discussion, have students write an addendum to their text book correcting things that the textbook got wrong and using more specific examples of where the text was correct.
  • Have the student create a poster that shows the uniqueness of the CCC in Washington state. Have them use specific jobs and locations that they learned from the images.
Civilian Conservation Corps Lesson Plan with Activity Sheet.pdf
Photo Analysis Graphic Organizer Activity Sheet.pdf