Dust Bowl


Answering the following questions will help you understand the Dust Bowl era more completely.  Use the websites provided to find the answers to these questions.  Your answers should be written IN YOUR OWN WORDS AND IN COMPLETE SENTENCES in your notebooks.


1.  What five states were MOST affected by the Dust Bowl?  Use the map from World Book Student to answer this question.

The Dust Bowl era covered most of the 1930s. Go to the Timeline on the American Experience website about the Dust Bowl to answer questions 2 through 5.

2.  How many dust storms were reported in 1932?  In 1933?

3.  The drought of 1934 was the worst in United States history.  How many states were severely affected?  What percent of the country did this cover?

4.  In December of 1934 the Yearbook of Agriculture published facts about the devastation to the land.  How many acres of formerly cultivated land were destroyed for crop production?  How many acres lost all or most of the topsoil?

5.  In 1938 there was a 65% reduction in soil blowing.  How was this achieved?

Use this page from American Experience about the Drought to answer questions 6 through 8.

6.  The drought was at least partially responsible for the Dust Bowl.  How often do dry spells occur in the Plains states?

7.  Drought alone did not cause the Dust Bowl; misuse of the land was also a factor.  How was the land misused?  Be specific.

8.  What happened on Black Sunday?  Go to Black Sunday to find out and then give specific details about what happened to people and/or property on that day.

Use this page from American Experience about the Mass Exodus to answer questions 9 & 10.

9.  The Dust Bowl exodus was the largest migration in American history.  How many people moved out of the Plains states by 1940?

10.  About 200,000 of the 2.5 million people who left their homes journeyed to California.  In what ways was life there hard for these migrants?  Give three specific ways.

It’s hard for us today to imagine what it was like to experience these dust storms.  Descriptions and pictures can help.  Click on this page about the Dust Bowl  from Kansas State University and scroll down the page to look at the photos, paying special attention to the captions next to the pictures.

 11.  Write down one observation about these photos that you found surprising, amazing, or otherwise noteworthy.

 It has been said that a picture is worth 1,000 words.  The Library of Congress has many pictures from the Dust Bowl available to us online.  Go to their Dust Bowl Migration Primary Source Set to see some of these pictures.  For best viewing, click “Download” under the thumbnail views of the pictures (it may take a few minutes to load, but the picture size will be bigger.)

 12. & 13.  Choose two of these pictures to write about.  For each picture, describe what you see, paying attention to detail, and explain your reaction to what you see (how does it make you feel, what conclusions do you draw, what did you learn).

14.  Choose one of the Recorded Sound MP3 files to listen to (with headphones, if possible). Summarize what you hear in a brief paragraph.