Federal Programs Crafting the Land of Rural Pennsylvania

Home Education Landmark Lesson Federal Programs Crafting the Land of Rural Pennsylvania

Federal Programs Crafting the Land of Rural Pennsylvania

In this lesson, students will learn the national historical context that led to the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) building improvements to Black Moshannon State Park in Pennsylvania. With these improvements also came the presence of the CCC and their work camps. Students will be able to identify structures in the park built by the CCC. Students will be able to make a personal or familial connection to the park and explain its role in the community today.

For those outside of Pennsylvania, this lesson can be a model of one relating to CCC work in your community.


Philipsburg , PA

Type of Landmark



20th century
Government and civics

Learning Objectives

  • Students will be able to identify structures in the park built by the CCC
  • Students will be able to explain the national context that led to the creation of the CCC work camps in Pennsylvania
  • Students will be able to make a personal or familial connection to the park and explain its role in the community today

Suggested Instructional Procedures

1) Introduction/ Warm-Up: Answer the question and reflect on what you know about the balance between too much and too little government “How involved should the government be when managing the economy and society as a whole?” Keep in mind the Preamble of the Constitution

“We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

2) Instruction: Review PowerPoint presentation with the students discussing the economic and social consequences of the Great Depression, the lack of federal engagement in response to the crisis from the Hoover administration and the promise of direct federal aid aimed at alleviating suffering in the populace from FDR. This shift in the role of the federal government has had a lasting impact on our country. Then introduce students to the legislation that created the CCC for document analysis. Finish the power point by discussing basic information about the CCC camps in Black Moshannon State Park

3)Have students individually analyze the primary source by reading and annotating the text. Work with a partner to answer the reading comprehension questions on the Primary Source Document Analysis Worksheet.

5) As a class discuss how the role of federal government in modern society has changed or remains the same using student background knowledge and the law.


Citizenship: Being a full member of the society of a nation state. This membership has benefits and obligations. Benefits include the protection of the nation state against threats from other nation states and other communities within the society of the nation state. Obligations include participating in the political processes of the state, voting, paying taxes, etc.

Authorization: Approval to do an activity.

Social Contract: A concept honed and defined by the European Enlightenment. In particular by John Locke in his Two Treatises of Government and Jean Jacques Rousseau who wrote The Social Contract. Essentially, sovereignty (the power of governance) is placed within the people as a whole (the idea of Popular Sovereignty). People delegate the task of governance to a set of institutions called government. Thus government is a social contract between the people of society and the institutions of government. The type of government and its actions are thus an expression of the popular will of the people. Locke’s contribution is the right of revolution, when a government abuses the grant of governance voluntarily given by the people, the people have an obligation to rise up and reform the government to their wishes.

Herbert Hoover: Herbert Hoover was the 31st President of the United States, his one term in office being defined by the opening years of the Great Depression. Hoover believed in a “hands off” approach to the management of the depression. Believing that the U.S. economy was still as strong as it was during the 1920s. He believed government that there was no need for the government to intervene in the U.S. economy. He also believed that the government should not intervene in the economy, as it would be a radical shift in the relationship between the government and the economy during peacetime.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt: Franklin Delano Roosevelt was the 32nd President of the United States. He is best known for leading the United States out of the Great Depression, and through most of World War II. With his New Deal program, FDR took an opposite approach to managing the Great Depression. Rather than waiting for the economy to recover on its own, FDR created jobs through work programs such as the Civilian Conservation Corps and used these newly created Federal jobs to get money flowing in the economy again and to drive U.S. domestic consumption.

End of Lesson Assessment

Formative Assessment: The Primary Source Document Analysis Worksheet

Summative Assessment: Take students to Black Moshannon State Park along with a list of recommended sites to visit. In groups of 3 - 4, they must take a picture of themselves at each of the locations and then create a project page on the class wiki to share their photos and their experience travelling around the park. Their final written piece needs to be a reflection on what role the park has played in their lives and and evaluation of the CCC program. Students should use the evidence they gathered through notes and their travels to determine whether the CCC was a positive use of federal money and power in a local community.