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Dust Bowl

Hook | Questions | Procedures | Data Investigation | Analysis | Findings | New Questions

Student Page

Brandon Rollings


The student page contains the hook only. It is intended to spark interest in the topic and lead students to ask questions or make predictions.

The Dust Bowl affected the lives of many people in the Great Plains Region.  Hundreds of Millions of acres of farmland was destroyed.  Millions of tons of topsoil was thrown into the atmosphere to create the huge dust storms that wreaked havoc across the Southern Great Plains.  Farmers were unable to grow their crops and graze their livestock.  

Here is a link to a list of resources on the Dust Bowl.


What caused the Dust Bowl? 

How did it affect the people of the Great Plains?



Students might ask similar but different questions than those listed here. The more students are guided to ask specific questions, the less inquiry-oriented the activity.


  1. Besides drought, what human-environment interactions helped lead to the Dust Bowl?
  2. What did the farmers in the Great Plains do to survive?
  3. What did the government do in response to this?


After students have asked questions related to the topic, they will need to decide a number of things, including:

  • Type(s) of data needed to answer the questions
  • Defining important terms
  • Choosing tools for data manipulation
  • Defining how data will be manipulated and presented

Type(s) of Data

The students will search the websites to find information on the Dust Bowl.  They will need to find accounts of people in the Dust Bowl, farming procedures of the day, what the government did to alleviate the problem, and how people in the Great Plains handled this crisis.

Investigation Tool(s)

Since most of this research will be found on documents on web sites, they will need to collect data on word processors. 

Manipulating Data

The students will mainly need to develop timelines and blocks of information on word processors. 

Data Investigation

There is often a giant leap from defining the type(s) of data desired and actually finding the data. Providing guidance to students in finding the necessary data may be necessary.

Here is a link to a list of resources on the Dust Bowl.


Raw data/information usually has to be manipulated before it can answer any questions. Students might be unaware of how data can best be manipulated, so teacher guidance may be appropriate.

People: Move to California, stay, surviving the storms...ect

Causes: Poor farming techniques, heavy grazing, drought.....

Government:  FDR, New Deal, Department of Agriculture, ......ect



No result is meaningful unless communicated appropriately. Discussion of findings should be supported. There may or may not be definitive answers to the questions students raised.

Students will submit reports on what they found that might answer the questions posed above.  These are to typed, double space, 12pt Font, and 5 pages in length. 


Possible New Questions

Answers often lead to new questions, starting the inquiry cycle over again.

List here follow up questions students might have and wish to investigate at a later time.

  • Could dust storms happen again in the Great Plains?
  • Are farmers doing all they can to prevent disasters like this?