Teacher's Guide for COBBLESTONE ® The Dust Bowl
Teacher Guide prepared by: Peggy Epstein, 25 years as Language Arts Teacher: Hickman Mills School District, Kansas City, Missouri; MA Instruction and Curriculum University of Missouri at Kansas City.
For "From Dreams to Dust: America Between the World Wars" (pages 4-7)
- to develop an appreciation for the courage and determination shown by people in a time of extreme adversity
- to show an understanding of cause and effect
- to practice geography skills
- to improve comprehension skills (by practicing scanning skills, by reading for specific information, by selecting information for writing projects, and by utilizing graphic organizers)
- to practice writing skills through a variety of activities both practical and creative
- to develop and enrich vocabulary
- to participate in small group and whole class activities
For "Seeing Through the Dust" (pages 8-11)
- Explain to students that they are going to use a "math equation" to demonstrate what happened during the 1930s in the Great Plains. Use a sheet of paper turned sideways.
- On the left side of the paper ask students to list all the positive factors - that is, all the good things that were happening in the 1920s (pages 4-5). Make a large plus sign to the right of this list.
- In the middle of the page, draw two lines, one under the other. On one line write "Stock Market Crash" and on the other line write "Drought." Make a large equal sign to the right of these two terms.
- Next ask students to make a list of conditions in the 1930s.
- Review by reminding students that their papers show what happened to the strong situation after World War I when drought and the stock market crash entered the picture.
For "Hugh Bennett: Soil Scientist" (pages 12-13)
- Provide students with construction paper.
- Ask them to fill the paper by drawing a large bowl. Write the words "Dust Bowl" underneath. Have students divide the bowl into four "layers."
- Read aloud the first paragraph on page 8, emphasizing the word "four." Ask students to scan pages 8-9 looking for the four ecological reasons behind the dust bowl. They should then write each of those reasons in one layer of their bowl.
- Try the experiment on page 9.
- Give students a photocopy of page 10. Help students to highlight or underline six to eight effects of the dust on the people who had to live with it. Help students to write a prose poem called "Dust" by having them tell what the dust does.
- For example:
- Dust . . .
Filters through every crack in the house
Makes people hang oily rags over their windows
Ask students to scan the article in order to create a mini-biography as they complete these statements about Hugh Bennett.
For "Black Sunday" (pages 14-16)
- He tried to "convince ___________________________."
- He "began supervising __________________________."
- He led a campaign _____________________________.
- He served as the head of ________________________.
- He proposed other farming methods such as _______________ and _____________________.
- He convinced farmers to use the methods by planting _______________________.
- He won awards including ____________ and ___________.
Ask students to imagine they are in Dodge City, Kansas on April 15, 1935. They have just lived
through Black Sunday the day before and have decided to write a letter to a cousin who lives in New York describing exactly what it was like. Ask students to write in first person and to include at least a dozen ideas from the article on pages 14-16.
For "Baked Out and Broke" (pages 17-21)
- Sample beginning for those who need it:
- Dear Cousin,
You will never believe what happened here in Dodge City yesterday. It started out like a nice sunny Sunday morning but then . . .
Study Guide (questions in order):
For "Route 66 Highway to Hope"
- What could happen to farmers who could not pay the rent on their land?
- What did people who were "baked out" (suffering from the drought) and "broke" (suffering as a result of the Great Depression), raise money for?
- What direction did most people - the migrants - go?
- Why did people in the communities where these migrants settled call them "Okies"?
- Why had tenant farmers been told they were no longer needed?
- How many people do historians believe left the American Midwest in the late 1930s?
- Why did the Okies realize they had no hope of ever owning farmland in California?
- Where were most migrants forced to live? What were these places like?
- In addition to poverty, illnesses and poor living conditions, what other three problems did the migrants have to deal with?
- Why did the farmers in California burn produce with so many hungry people around?
- What did the federal government do to help the migrants?
- Why didn't some of the migrants just go back to where they had come from?
For "The Okie School" (pages 29-31)
- Provide each student with a United States map, and using the map on page 3, ask students to trace Route 66.
- Divide class into four groups. "Beginnings" "1930s" "1940s" and "1950s/'60s." Have each group create a "road sign" which shows what was happening along Route 66 during their assigned time period. Ask each group to present to the rest of the class.
For "Keeping Down the Dust" (pages 38-41)
- Ask students to imagine that it is 1935 and they are either Myrtle Dansby or "Dan" Dansby. They are students at the local Kern County Public School when they begin keeping a diary.
- The first entry will be the poem on page 29.
- The second and third entries will tell what school was like there and specifically how they were treated.
- After that, students will continue the diary entries by telling how they built their new school, what their school days were like, what lunches were like, what kind of rewards they were given, etc.
- Read aloud the first paragraph and give students an overview of the article: the role science is playing in drought prevention.
- Divide students into groups of four.
- Explain to students that they will be creating an in-depth TV news show. The program will have a moderator and three experts. The moderator will ask the experts questions taken from the article; the experts will answer with information taken from the article as well.
- Tell students that they must have at least six question and answer sets, and that those questions must include the four italicized terms in the article.
- You might give students the choice of presenting their news show to the class or turning it in in script form.