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Dust Bowl Activities

Instructor: Christopher Muscato

Chris has a master's degree in history and teaches at the University of Northern Colorado.

The following activities are designed to help your students find new and creative ways to engage with the history of the Dust Bowl and Depression-era rural America.

The Dust Bowl

The Dust Bowl refers to a period in the 1930s when the American West and Midwest were subjected to massive dust storms that resulted from drought and crop failure. As a substantial feature of the Great Depression in rural America, the Dust Bowl was a time of hardship and struggle. These activities can help your students engage with the history of the Dust Bowl in creative and unique ways, building up an understanding of this era and empathy for the people who survived it.

Dust Bowl Activities

Dust Bowl Diary

Start by giving students primary sources from the Dust Bowl to read through. Students will examine these to understand what people were going through, what they were thinking, and how they were dealing with the Dust Bowl. They will then use these as inspiration to write a historical fiction short story in the form of a diary of someone living through this moment in history. While this should be inspired by the primary sources, the main character should be fictional and original, giving students freedom to explore their personality and personal reaction to the Dust Bowl.

  • Materials: Primary sources from the Dust Bowl, writing supplies

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