Off to Camp We Go!

3, 4, 5

The students will explore the work and impact of the Civilian Conservation Corps in their state. Michigan is used as an example, but this lesson is applicable in any state.

Lesson Rating 
PrintThree Forty-Five Minute Class Periods

The learner will:

  • recall key details about the role of the Civilian Conservation Corps in his/her state.
  • compare/contrast his/her daily life to that of a C.C.C. participant.
  • construct a simulation of a C.C.C. camp in the classroom.
  • Variety of paper:
  • Pencils, pens, markers and/or crayons
  • Tables and chairs
  • Life at the Civilian Conservation Corps (Attachment One)


  1. Anticipatory Set:

    The classroom teacher enters the room wearing a plaid shirt, jeans, and work boots and carrying a shovel and a pail. The teacher asks the students what these tools might have to do with the Civilian Conservation Corp. How might have these tools been used and by whom?

    Day One:

  2. Discuss/review the following questions regarding the role of the C.C.C.

  3. Who was responsible for the creation of the C.C.C.? (Franklin Delano Roosevelt)

  4. What was the C.C.C. and how did it benefit the people of your state? (The Civilian Conservation Corps employed young men between the ages of 17-24. They worked on projects designed to restore or improve the environment. Although the most common project was reforestation, participants also worked to reduce flooding conditions, improve water quality, and increase the number of fisheries. See Bibliographical References for more sites.

  5. What is stewardship and how was the C.C.C.'s work in reforestation an example of this? (Stewardship is the responsible care of another's mission, household, or the environment. Reforestation not only helped put young men to work but it decreased erosion, improved soil quality, created animal habitat, as well as increased forests for recreation and timber use-taking care of the environment for future generations.)

  6. Duplicate for each student Life at the Civilian Conservation Corps (Attachment One). (Note: This article includes details about life at a C.C.C. camp in Michigan. Similar information may be available for your state.)

  7. Divide the class into five teams. Assign each team one aspect of the C.C.C. life as outlined in Attachment One: Life at the Civilian Conservation Corps. Camp Routine, Diet, Jobs, Recreation, and the Selection Board. The teams will be responsible for communicating to the class key facts about their area of expertise.

  8. Provide the students with the time to read and discuss the provided information about daily life in a C.C.C. camp.

  9. Day Two:

  10. Students plan how they will present the key facts of their assigned aspect of life in a C.C.C. camp. This may include a 3-D model, illustrations or other visual aids.

  11. Debrief with the students on the process the teams used in working together to plan and come to consensus.

    • Define respect and discuss how they demonstrated it towards each other. Did they have any conflict and how did they resolve it?
    • Discuss with the class how the diverse C.C.C. camp participants might have demonstrated respect for each other. How might they have resolved conflict they experienced?
  12. Provide the students with the time to construct and set up in the classroom their aspect of daily life.

  13. Day Three:

  14. Invite parents or other classrooms to visit your classroom. Have each group explain their particular aspect of daily life in a C.C.C. camp to the visitors. (Note: For better management, divide the visitors into groups and start each group at a different aspect of daily life. This will create fewer traffic-flow problems and won't overwhelm any one team of students in your room.)

  15. Debrief with the students. Do they feel they successfully implemented their plan of recreating an aspect of the daily life of a C.C.C. camp? What contributed to their success? Were there any challenges and how did they manage them?

  16. Discuss with the students if they feel that the C.C.C. is still needed today. What are some reasons to support this position? What are some reasons opposing it?


The students will list at least six key details about the C.C.C. in general and specifically in their state. (Include: Who started the C.C.C.? What was its role? How did it benefit the people of your state? What is stewardship and how was reforestation an example of this?) The students will complete a Venn diagram comparing/contrasting the daily life of a C.C.C. camp participant with their own life. The teacher will observe the students' participation in the team project.

Cross Curriculum 

Students will read about and plan a presentation of one aspect of the Civilian Conservation Corps camp.

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.I Definitions of Philanthropy
    1. Standard DP 02. Roles of Government, Business, and Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark E.1 Give examples of needs met by government, business, civil society, and family.
  2. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 02. Diverse Cultures
      1. Benchmark E.2 Discuss the importance of respect for others.
  3. Strand PHIL.III Philanthropy and the Individual
    1. Standard PI 01. Reasons for Individual Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark E.3 Define stewardship and give examples.