Life in the Dust Bowl & Great Depression

The Dust Bowl and the Effects of the Great Depression
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In this Dust Bowl lesson plan, students learn about the causes and effects of the Dust Bowl within the context of the Great Depression. Students learn how farmers ripped up native grasses to plant wheat, leaving the soil vulnerable to drought and winds.  When the Dust Bowl hit, farmers and families struggled to maintain their hope, dignity, and livelihoods while the rest of the nation suffered as well from the Great Depression. When 2.5 million headed west to escape the ravages of the storms, it became one of the largest migrations in US history, though they were not welcome when they arrived in California- "Okies" were discriminated against and continued to struggle to find work and dignity when the New Deal beginning to lend support.


Primary & Secondary Source Exploration of poetry, photographs, diary entries, and an overview of Dust Bowl migrations to California. Students make connections between sources to emphasize with victims of the Dust Bowl in this Great Depression lesson plan.

Skill Development: Historical empathy, poetry analysis, critical reading, gathering evidence.