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The intent of this lesson is to expose students to a variety of topics in a short amount of time using fun and engaging methods. Each station of this NO PREP activity contains enthralling primary source accounts of the Dust Bowl during the 1930’s. After completing this lesson, students will understand the misery and suffering in America during the Dust Bowl. Students will examine each of the following topics: 1. Dust Bowl Overview, 2. Causes of the Dust Bowl, 3. A Meager Existence, 4. Black Sunday, 5. Government Assistance, 6. Okie Migration. Each station contains a brief description, along with intriguing primary source accounts and historic photo sets. The lesson is easily adaptable to fit your teaching style. The following methods have proven to be the most successful in my classroom:
1. Hang the information sheets around the class and have students rotate to each sheet.
- This is my favorite because it gets students up and moving. You can assign the worksheet that accompanies this activity, or simply have them summarize each topic as they rotate.
2. Split the students into groups and assign one sheet per group. Have the students read the information sheet and prepare to present the information to the rest of class.
- I assign a number to each group member (number the first group, then start back at 1 for the next group, so that you have multiple 1’s, 2’s, etc. throughout the class) and after students have had adequate time to prepare I tell them all the 2’s are presenting. This method motivates students because they don’t know which group member is presenting until it is time to present.
3. Form groups of 6 and have the students pass around the information sheets.
- I’ve found the best approach for this method is to give students a set amount of time and then have all students pass their sheets to the right when told.
The versatility of this activity allows for several culminating assessments. Typically, once students have completed one of the methods above, I have them write a response to the following question- “Was the Dust Bowl preventable? Please explain your answer.” Then, I conduct a debate in which students can defend their choice. Another option is to have students write a journal entry from the point of view of a person living on the Great Plains during the Bowl. I encourage them to include as much information from the stations as possible.
I hope you and your students enjoy this activity.Please let me know if you have questions or concerns!
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