Lesson Plan: Overview

The Historical and Economic Impact of the Civilian Conservation Corps in South Carolina

Grade Level: 8th

Natl. Park Service Drinking Fountain (CCC)

Academic Standards

Standard 8-6: The student will demonstrate an understanding of South Carolina’s development during the early twentieth century.

8-6.5 Explain the effects of the Great Depression and the lasting impact of New Deal programs on South Carolina, including the Rural Electrical Act, Civilian Conservation Corps, Works Progress Administration and the Public Works Administration building projects, the Social Security Act and the Santee Cooper Electricity Project (E, H, P, G).

Social Studies Literacy Elements

A. Distinguish between past, present, and future time.

E. Explain change and continuity over time.

F. Ask geographic questions:  Where is it located?  Why is it there?  What is significant about its location?  How is its location related to that of other people, places, and environments?

K. Use texts, photographs, and documents to observe and interpret social studies trends and relationships.

Essential Questions

1.Why was the Civilian Conservation Corps important to South Carolina?

2. What was the impact of the Civilian Conservation Corps in South Carolina?

Historical Background Notes

The beginnings of the Civilian Conservation Corps have its roots in 1920’s America.  It was a time of great economic hardship in the United States.  The country was bankrupt and millions of Americans were unemployed as the Stock Market crashed and businesses failed.  It was a time for bold action to get the country back on its feet by starting an ambitious new government job program and that program was called the CCC.

The United States was in a Great Depression. Many American men were condemned to idleness.  Hunger and poverty were pervasive.  A New President was elected on July 2, 1932, and his name was Franklin D. Roosevelt.  He revealed a plan for a great public works project that was to employee millions of citizens.  In addition, the project was to reclaim ravaged land through conservation.  Roosevelt met with six high government officials:  The Secretaries of War, the Secretary of Agriculture and Interior, the Director of the Bureau of the Budget, the solicitor from the Justice Department, and the Judge Advocate General of the Army.  The officials were to set forth and plan the creation of the CCC.

In 1933 a bill was signed giving Roosevelt blanket authority to put his plan into effect.  Section 1 of the law stated its purpose.  Congress had passed it to relieve unemployment, provide for the restoration of the nation’s deleted resources, and advance an orderly program of large-scale public works.  It authorized the President “under such rules and regulations as he may Prescribe”, to enroll the jobless in the program, regardless of race, color or creed.  The enrollees would reforest national and state lands to prevent floods and erosion, control plant pests and diseases, reconstruct paths and parks.  The law also permitted the President to provide the men with clothing, housing, medical care, and a cash allowance (Eudy, 1993, 8).

The first enrollees in the CCC were between the ages of 17 and 24, unemployed and without an education.  Enrollment time varied as little as six months to one year or more.  The government paid enrollees $30 a month and required them to send $25.00 home.  This payment plan varied as well.  The government later deposited $7.00 a month into a government savings account for that person to collect when it discharged him/her from the corps.

The United States government organized many CCC camps in South Carolina.  The cooperation among federal and state government benefited the entire nation. Roosevelt’s reclamation plan constructed 16 state parks, stopped the erosion of fertile soil, employed 49,000 young men in the state, and injected millions of dollars into the state’s economy through the purchase of land, supplies, equipment, and services (SC Dept. of Archives & History Educational Document Packets, p 3).  The program created a national network of parks, forests, and wildlife refuges.  Many men earned a high school diploma and job skills through many of the CCC vocational educational programs.  Hundreds of young men left the CCC with life long skills and trades.  By 1940 with the advent of World War II the CCC program was cut back and reduced and disbanded.

In its 8 years of operation, the CCC helped pull America out of its economic slump and provided millions of Americans with opportunity and hope.


Primary Sources

Helsley, Alexia J. South Carolina Department of Archives and History, Educational Document Packets. The Civilian Conservation Corps in South Carolina 1933- 1942.  Publications Service Area, 1997.

Secondary Sources

Brinkley, Alan. The Unfinished Nation. Vol. 2: From 1865. New York: McGraw Hill, 2005.

Horne, Paul A. Jr. South Carolina: The History of an American State. Clairmont Press, Atlanta, Georgia, 2006.


"National Archives Document Analysis Worksheet." Education Staff, U.S. National Archives and Records Administration.

“National Archives Photograph Analysis Worksheet.” Retrieved March 15, 2007, from the Education Staff, U.S. National Archives and Records Administration.

Lesson Plans

The Civilian Conservation Corps in South Carolina will allow students to learn about the public works program and its impact on the state, as well as the locations of state parks built by the CCC.  This lesson will combine different research activities needed to complete the lesson.

  1. In a short 5 minute lecture the teacher will introduce the topic of the CCC.  The lecture will provide a context for learning about the CCC in South Carolina. The teacher will also provide primary material for the students to review.
  2. Students will be given numerous pictures of the CCC taken in the 1930’s in South Carolina, see The Civilian Conservation Corps in South Carolina 1933- 1942
  3. Next the students will be asked to use the Photo Analysis Worksheet to write down what they observe.
  4. Next the teacher will explain that 16 state parks were built by the CCC in SC and that the students by using the Internet will research each park and write a short paragraph describing what impact does the park have on the local community and South Carolina?  What Impact did the CCC have on SC and why was the CCC important to the state?
  5. Next, the teacher will have a huge outline of the state of South Carolina on the classroom wall.  The students will be asked to locate and write the name of the CCC-built park on the map.
  6. Next, the teacher will ask the student to read his or her summary about the importance of the CCC in South Carolina.

Teacher Reflections

In contemplating a lesson to create for my Teaching American History in South Carolina course, I decided to use multiple primary sources and documents for my upcoming lessons. The Teaching American History in South Carolina course teaches educators to use as many primary sources as you can to influence learning in the classroom.

During the summer, TAHSC introduced me to a world of primary sources. The two week Institute introduced primary sources to motivate and educate the student and teacher. I teach 8th grade South Carolina History, and it is hard to teach that subject. Beginning with the Institute's book of choice, America: A Concise History, Volume 2: Since 1865 include a CD Rom generator that is full of primary sources, historical documents and maps from many eras of Americas history. These documents are at our fingertips and easy to find. The Institute also provides educators the opportunity to visit many cultural places to see primary documents. For example, our class from the low-country Institute visited the Avery Institute for African-American History, South Carolina Historical Society, Charleston Museum, and Patriots Point. These venerable Institutions provide the educator with hands on experiences to look upon and gaze at actual documents from our storied state's past. Visiting these centers has changed the way I teach. Recently, I have started using primary sources in my classroom instruction. Many documents from the Colonial period are hard to read for my young charges. Many of these documents are written in cursive. To my shock and dismay, my students could not read or write cursive! The last time they wrote in cursive was in the third grade. A challenge for me is to translate the ‘foreign language’ of cursive into English for my students. Paul, the Low-Country Institutes Professor taught me that you have to know your content first and foremost. To be an effective classroom teacher you have to know your stuff. I am proud that I do, but I can always learn more. Sadly, many teachers today do not know their content. Each day’s lesson started with the content for that subject. You have to understand the background to understand the primary source document. A recommendation for improvement would have been to help the elementary teachers with some kind of special history packet for those teachers. Many elementary teachers were lost in the Institute. Many have only taken a few courses in history and their focus is on math and science.

A useful strategy for me would have to be the worksheets, handouts, websites, CDs and books handed out during the course. They are an invaluable resource for me today. Visiting the South Carolina Historical Society was the highlight of my course. This cultural institution helped me with numerous primary source documents. I was able to use a computer data base to access hundreds of documents. These documents were pulled for me and a copy was made, for free!

I enjoyed teaching my lesson on the Civilian Conservation Corps in South Carolina. I invited several persons from the South Carolina Department of Archives and Mary Anne Hamblen to observe the lesson. The lesson overall went well. My strengths were the multitude of primary photographs of the CCC camps in South Carolina. I introduced these to my students as they used a photo analysis worksheet to write down their observations. One weakness would have to be the layout of the photo analysis worksheet. The document and wording confused many of the 11 and 12 year olds. I had to explain certain words used in the sheet, such as the word: infer. See student work for an example. Once I explained the document, many students began writing observations in earnest. This era of South Carolina history to me is boring and I am a little weak in the subject. I used a CD educational packet I purchased from the Archives in Columbia, SC. This packet has a great history of the creation of the CCC and many photographs that I used in my lesson. Plus, it taught me some new history of that time period. The lesson was finished in one class period and the students learned a little something about the history of their state.

Student Assessment

Assessment is performance based.  Students' participation in the research, discussion and summary writing were based on a standard- based rubric:  Excellent, Good, and Poor.

Examples of Students Work

Student State Park Summary

Student State Park Summary 2


Dean Hunt
Crayton Middle School
Columbia, South Carolina