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Dust Bowl Lesson Plan

Dust Bowl Lesson Plan

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Published by: StanfordSheg on Apr 29, 2013
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STANFORD HISTORY EDUCATION GROUP sheg.stanford.edu
Dust Bowl Lesson Plan
 
Central Historical Question:
What caused the Dust Bowl?
Materials:
 Dust Bowl Documents A-E
 Dust Bowl PowerPoint
 Guiding Questions
 Graphic Organizer
Plan of Instruction:
1) Introduction: Use PowerPoint to establish background information and to introduce the day’s Central Historical Question. a. Slide 1: Do now.
 Ask students to examine the picture.
 Read the questions out loud and have students briefly jot down their answers.
 Share out responses. b. Slide 2: Title Slide c. Slide 3; The Dust Bowl. Establish background information on the Dust Bowl, including the following:
 
The Dust Bowl refers to a period of severe dust storms and soil erosion in the Great Plains during the 1930s.
 
This region included parts of Oklahoma, Texas, Kansas, Colorado, and smaller parts of New Mexico and Nebraska. d.
Slide 4: Dust Storms.
There were more than 300 dust storms, also known as “Black Blizzards,” between 1933 and 1938. These storms often featured fast moving clouds of dust several miles wide that covered farms and homes, destroyed crops, and made people sick. One of the hardest hit areas was the Oklahoma Panhandle.
e. Slide 5: Displacement and Migration.
Many people left the Dust Bowl region, abandoning their homes and to look for work in Western states, such as California. However, many stayed behind.
 f. Slide 6: Introduce Central Historical Question.
 
Since the 1930s people have debated what caused the Dust Bowl. Historians continue to address this question: Was the Dust Bowl a natural disaster or was it caused by people’s actions?
 
Today we are going to analyze and compare a set of primary and secondary sources to better understand what caused the Dust Bowl.
This is a shortened version of a lesson that appears in Sam Wineburg, Daisy Martin, & Chauncey Monte-Sano’s
 Reading Like a Historian: Teaching Literacy in Middle and High School Classrooms
 (New York: Teacher’s College Press, 2012).
 
 
STANFORD HISTORY EDUCATION GROUP sheg.stanford.edu
2) Pass out Graphic Organizer and Guiding Questions. a. Students record their first hypothesis based upon anything they know about the Dust Bowl. b. Share out. 3) Pass out Documents A and B. a. Explain that students will now read and compare accounts of the Dust Bowl from two people who lived through it. Explain the purpose and directions for reading the documents:
 to think about what life was like during the Dust Bowl
 to compare the similarities and differences of these documents
 to consider how the documents help you answer the Central Historical Question: What caused the Dust Bowl? b. In pairs, students read documents, answer guiding questions, and fill out graphic organizer. c. Individually, students record second hypothesis. d. Share out hypotheses.
Important to note:
 
 
Henderson’s letter does not directly address the historical question. However, her rosy description of farming methods of crop production in 1920s and her conclusion that nothing could be done unless it rains, suggest that the Dust Bowl was a natural disaster not caused by people’s actions.
 4) Pass out Document C. a. Review directions and explain purposes for reading the document:
 to address the Central Historical Question
 to compare, or corroborate this document with Documents A and B b. In pairs, students read documents, answer guiding questions, and fill out graphic organizer. c. Individually, students record third hypothesis. d. Share out hypotheses. 5) Pass out Documents D and E. a. Review directions and explain purposes for reading the document:
 to address the Central Historical Question
 to compare, or corroborate this document with Documents A, B, and C. b. In pairs, students read documents, answer guiding questions, and fill out graphic organizer. c. Individually, students record fourth hypothesis. d. Share out hypotheses. 6) Discussion a. What caused the Dust Bowl?
 
 
STANFORD HISTORY EDUCATION GROUP sheg.stanford.edu
b. Whose hypotheses changed across rounds? How? Why? c. Which documents and what evidence did you find most convincing? Why?
Citations
 
Document A Excerpt from Caroline Henderson’s letter to U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, Henry A. Wallace, sent July 26, 1935, from the Oklahoma Panhandle. In Alvin O. Turner (Ed.),
Letters From the Dust Bowl 
 (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2001), 140-142; 146-147. Document B Excerpts from Lawrence Svobida,
Farming the Dust Bowl: A First-Hand Account from Kansas,
 first published in 1940 (Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 1986), 36, 59. Document C Excerpts from
Report of the Great Plains Drought Area Committee,
sent to President Roosevelt on August 27, 1936, signed by leaders of eight Federal Agencies, including the Department of  Agriculture and Soil Conservation Service. Morris Cooke et al.,
Report of Great Plains Drought  Area Committee
 (Hyde Park, NY: Franklin D. Roosevelt Library, 1936). Available at http://newdeal.feri.org/hopkins/hop27.htm Document D Excerpt from Donald Worster,
Dust Bowl: The Southern Plain in the 1930s
(New York: Oxford University Press, 1979), 4-5. Document E Excerpt from Douglas Hurt,
The Dust Bowl: An Agricultural and Social History 
 (Chicago: Nelson-Hall, 1981), 15, 30.

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