CBC Digital Archives

Lesson Plan: For Teachers - Generation X: Economy and Jobs

Business Studies
1 lesson
To examine how economic cycles affect employment
Students complete a discussion web about the impact of economic cycles on employment prospects for Generation X.

Lesson Plan

Before Exploring

Ensure students understand the term "demographics." (Students can complete the introductory activity Demographic Groups in Canada. Alternatively, have students find and share dictionary definitions of the term.) You might review the following concepts:

Economic cycle The ups and downs of an economy. The cycle involves shifts over time between periods of relatively rapid growth of output, then periods of decline.
Expansion A time when the economy of a country is thriving. Businesses grow, hire more employees, and sell more products and services.
Peak The economy's highest point.
Recession A time of decline in the level of economic activity: fewer goods are produced and sold, and employees are laid off. Generally, this results in a reduction in the price of goods or services in order to generate sales.
Trough The lowest point of the recession.
Recovery A time of increase in production and sales as a result of the trough period. The end of recovery leads to expansion, and the cycle starts over.

Use the discussion web format on the download sheet Generation X: Economy and Jobs to structure a class discussion. Discuss how economic cycles can vary in length, and that the stage in the cycle affects business success and the job market. Ask students to generate concrete examples of how various aspects of business have been affected by these cycles. Discuss where in the economic cycle students believe we are currently.

Outline the Opportunity

Have students visit the topic Generation X: Lives on Hold on the CBC Digital Archives website. They will view the clips titled "A crash course in reality", "X-odus East", "A life without high points", "Blissful ignorance", "A lost generation", "Generation hopeless", and "Generation E"


Distribute the download sheet Generation X: Economy and Jobs. Ask students to use it to record their thoughts about the following:


What were the economic challenges facing Generation X? How do their challenges relate to the economic cycles we discussed prior to viewing the clips?

Why did Generation X have such a hard time finding jobs?

What were some strategies that members of Generation X used to support themselves? Which were successful?

Has the "value" of education changed since Generation X? Why or why not?

Could a situation like Generation X happen again? Why or why not?

Revisit and Reflect

Each group summarizes their discussion by creating a web on chart paper. They post their discussion webs and hold a classroom walkabout to view one another's work. As a class, debrief similarities and differences in responses.


Students can research the Canadian economic forecast and job market predictions for their adulthood and compare the job prospects they anticipate with those of Generation X.

Download PDF

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