Visit Your Local PBS Station PBS Home PBS Home Programs A-Z TV Schedules Watch Video Donate Shop PBS Search PBS
Montage of images and link description. Troublesome Creek Imagemap: linked to kids and home
The Film and More
Imagemap(text links below) of menu items
The American Experience

Suggestions for the Classroom

Time Period: 1985-1990
Themes: business, economics

    By the late 1980s, Iowa farmers Russ and Mary Jane Jordan had accumulated a large debt. Faced with losing their farm, The Jordans came up with a dramatic solution to hold onto their family farm as massive foreclosures swept the nation.

Before Watching

  1. Ask students how farming is different from other businesses. Have them take on farm business practices as they watch the program.

  2. Have students find out how local banks decide whether or not to give someone a loan. What information did they find? What additional factors might influence a bank's decision?

After Watching

  1. What business practices were presented in the program? What do you think will happen to U.S. farms in the future?

  2. How did the Jordans use loans? Have students write a report on how the 1980s farm crisis affected how farmers use loans.

  3. Have students research the effects of subsidies for U.S. farmers over the last ten years. In a class debate, ask one team of students to support U.S. farm subsidies and the other team to oppose subsidies.

  4. Jeanne Jordan says, "There's a way that growing up on a farm is like growing up on an island. Your family becomes your world." How does this quote reflect how the Jordans coped with their financial losses? Have students write about how they coped emotionally or economically when they had to seek help for a project in which they invested time, money, or both.

Educators & Librarians: You may order "Troublesome Creek" at



This Web site was produced for PBS Online by WGBH.
Web site ©1999 WGBH Educational Foundation. | Web Credits