Virtual Field Trip to the Dust Bowl By Rachael Caskey
Themes/Concepts • People, places, and environment • Culture • Grade Level – Fifth Grade • History of the United States • Geography of the United States
New York State Standards • Social Studies, Standard 3. Geography, students will use a variety of intellectual skills to demonstrate their understanding of the geography of the interdependent world in which we live – local, national, and global – including the distribution of people, places, and environments over the earth’s surface.
Student Outcomes • Explain what the Dust Bowl was, when it occurred, and who was affected by it • Describe what some people did to cope with the Dust Bowl • Explain how the geography of the land contributed to the Dust Bowl
Imagine… The year is 1935. You are ten years old. Your parents are trying to decide whether to pack up their belongings and leave the farm behind or to stick it out in Oklahoma until the end of the Dust Bowl. Because of the Great Depression, drought, and the Dust Bowl many of your neighbors have left for California. Read on to see what you would have decided…
What caused the Dust Bowl? • The Dust Bowl was caused in part by the raising of cattle and planting of crops on the plains. This resulted in destruction of the natural grasslands and allowed the wind to erode the soil. • What do you think could have been done to prevent the Dust Bowl from occurring?
Who could have helped you in the dust bowl? • Many children wrote to President Roosevelt or his wife hoping for help. • Here is a letter written by a 13 year old boy from Kansas who was suffering through the Dust Bowl.
Life on the Farm in Oklahoma • Life on the farm was hard. There were chores to complete every day and you raised most if not all of your food. Many children had to leave school to help on their family farm. • Imagine what life on the farm would be like for you…
If you left Oklahoma, one of your destinations might have been Weedpatch Camp… • Click here to see what Weedpatch Camp was like and what it would have offered your family…
If you didn’t go to a migrant camp in California… • You most likely didn’t receive a warm welcome. Many migrants were not welcomed in California and if they found work, they worked for very low wages. • Was California really a better option for the Okies?
You have reached the end of your journey through the Dust Bowl… • What do you think? • Would you have stayed in Oklahoma or gone to California? • What could have been done to prevent the Dust Bowl? Anything? • If you stayed in Oklahoma what did you do to get by?
Follow-Up Activity • Write a letter from the point of view living through the Dust Bowl. • Do you want to know what it’s like in California, are you looking for help from someone, or are you writing a letter to a friend? • Be sure to include at least five facts you have learned about the Dust Bowl!
Resources • This website gave detailed definition of the Dust Bowl and why it occurred. http://encarta.msn.com/encyclopedia_761572810/Dust_Bowl.html • This website described the migrants experience upon arriving in California. http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/dustbowl/peopleevents/pandeAMEX08.html • This website shows Weedpatch Camp and what it offered migrants from the plains. http://www.weedpatchcamp.com/camp.htm • This website offers a glimpse of farm life during the Dust Bowl in the 1930s. http://www.livinghistoryfarm.org/farminginthe30s/life_01.html • Here is a letter from a 13-year old boy who wrote to Eleanor Roosevelt. http://newdeal.feri.org/eleanor/fm1137.htm