Activity 2:
On the Lam

As he was running away from his foster home, Bud said that he was "on the lam." This is a slang phrase for fugitives fleeing from the law. Bud had a number of close calls with the police. During the 1930s, the police were very busy dealing with crimes much more serious than Bud's.


Be a crime buster by learning about criminals yesterday and today.

Process and Resources

  1. Today, we watch television shows to find out about dangerous criminals. Go to the America's Most Wanted page, do you recognize anyone? What would you do if they lived next door?
  2. Bud described himself as just like "Public Enemy Number One". In the 1930s people listened to the radio. They heard about what the FBI called fugitives, notorious gangsters, and public enemies. Scan the Facts on the Program page to find the answers to interesting FBI trivia. Use the boldfaced questions on the Facts page to help guide you to the answers. When you finish answering the questions, pick a piece of trivia or interesting fact. Does this fact surprise you? Why or why not?
    • Was there really a "Public Enemy Number One"?
    • Who starred in the movie "The Public Enemy"?
    • Who was the first woman on the list?
    • How many "Ten Most Wanted Fugitives" have been captured from citizens seeing their pictures?
    • Who is the star of the television program "America's Most Wanted"?
    • In what year did the "Top Ten Most Wanted" list get started?
  3. Bud refers to John Dillinger, Pretty Boy Floyd, and Baby Face Nelson. Who were these criminals? Pick one of these three notorious criminals and read about his life. Summarize the information into a short news report that Bud might have heard on the radio.
  • Many criminals have an alias. Sometimes they just have a nickname. Actually many people use a second name or a nickname. For example, writers often have a "pen name" or pseudonym. Check out the What's in a name? website. Choose one of the following two activities:
    • Create a "what's my real name?" game.
    • Invent a name for yourself or use your real nickname. Write a story about how you got the name.
    • Bud didn't want to be called Buddy. Do you have a nickname that people call you that you hate? If so, write about your feelings about the name.

Project Guidelines

Use the following guidelines for creating your news report:

  • Use the web pages to locate basic information about your criminal.
  • Remember the who, what, where, when, why, and how of a good news report.
  • When recording your audio, read slowly, clearly, and don't get too close to the microphone.


Record an audiotape of your news reports and send it through surface mail to a partner school.

Teacher Resources
Student Resources

Developed by Annette Lamb, 3/00.