Journey Through the Dust Bowl
A WebQuest Exploration
Cr eated by Holly Delduchetto (EDU 505)
The Great Depression devastatingly impacted the entire United States (and
even had negative effects on other countries), but perhaps those hurt the most
were the farming families of the Great Plains. A vast drought turned the once
fertile fields into acres of dust. The land grew parched; the crops dried up and
blew away; agricultural prices plummeted; and violent dust storms raged
through the Midwest.
The Dust Storms
• Nicknamed “Black Blizzards”
• Began in 1931
• Caused by the dried up crops, the
over-plowed fields, and the over-
• 38 dust storms ravaged the Midwest
in 1933 alone
Fierce dust storms, signaled only by monstrous black clouds,
appeared out of nowhere, burying automobiles, farm equipment,
livestock, and even people. When the storms struck in the light of
day, Dust Bowl residents swear that it was as dark as night. If you
were caught away from home when one hit, you were lucky if you
could find shelter in a nearby house, barn, or shed until the storm
passed. Dust stung your eyes, irritated your nose and throat, settled
on furniture, covered windows, and even made its way into the
very food on your dinner table.
This map highlights the area of the U.S. that became known as “The Dust Bowl”
during the 1930s. Hit especially hard were the southern plains.
Did rain come and end the drought?
Did crops spring from the earth once more?
Farmers had no choice but to foreclose.
Families packed up and migrated west, hoping to
find work in the fertile orchards of California.
You have been assigned the task of creating a journal for a
fictional family who lived through the Dust Bowl.
This Journal must include the following items:
A journal that has a creative cover depicting a scene, either
drawn or cut, which best sums up the Dust Bowl in
your own opinion.
A journal that has at least five creative entries that discuss
aspects of the Dust Bowl.
Each entry must be dated, and contain relevant facts
gathered through the use of this WebQuest such as
time, place, location, and conditions that you and your
You must follow the guiding questions that go along with
the different topics that are offered in this WebQuest.
These questions must also be handed in, complete,
with the journal.
In summary, this is what you must complete:
A set of daily journal entries
2. Complete guiding questions (15)
3. Works cited page (for questions)
Things to Consider:
For your journal entries, your writing can be personal and reflective. You can
tell who you met and spoke with, what kinds of things you saw, describe any
dust storms you experienced, mention what you brought with you, what you
ate, where you slept, etc. This requires creative writing and personal narrative
using concrete details and vivid descriptions.
For the guiding questions, your language and style must be more professional
(academic). This is where you tie together all the information you have
learned. Responses should be concise, direct, and you may include facts and
figures. You need to present your information in a way that is brief,
informative, yet compelling.
Process and Resources
Here are the steps to follow along your journey. Think of it as a plan or an
itinerary. Websites (resources) that you can visit are woven throughout the
process description. I have recommended items from each site that are particularly
helpful, informative, and interesting. Feel free to explore any other parts of the
sites you visit! The process steps are meant to guide you during the trip, but by all
means, linger and learn even more if you wish!
Okay, grab your luggage!
The train is leaving!
Warning: It’s not going to be
this green where you’re going!
Guiding Questions (Tasks)
WHEN THE DUST BOWL BEGAN
1.) What year did the Dust Bowl conditions start to impact the United States?
2.) Examine the timeline of events and list, in your opinion, the three most important events of
the Dust Bowl.
WHERE THE DUST BOWL HAPPENED
3.) What states, counties and towns were impacted by the Dust Bowl?
4.) Out of all the possible states that could have been impacted, why is it that these states were
the ones that experienced the most damage during the Dust Bowl?
5.) How does geography play a part in the areas that were affected and those that weren't? What
common characteristics do you see in areas that were impacted and those that weren't?
WHY THE DUST BOWL HAPPENED
6.) What are three reasons why the Dust Bowl occurred?
7.) Create a graphic organizer with "DUST BOWL" in the middle circle and list three reasons in
smaller circles around the center. Include this chart with the other materials you hand in.
WHO THE DUST BOWL AFFECTED
8.) What groups of people did the Dust Bowl affect the most?
9.) Were children affected by the Dust Bowl? How?
EXAMINE THE PICTURE HERE (http://www.averyphoto.com/card16.html) AND RESPOND TO THE
10.) What do you see in this picture?
11.) What impact did the storm have on these people?
HOW PEOPLE REACTED TO THE DUST BOWL
12.) Name three ways that people dealt with the Dust Bowl.
13.) What were some of the consequences of the Dust Bowl? (Good and Bad)
14.) How did the Dust Bowl help to transform the lives of Americans living in the regions that
15.) What steps can be taken to avoid another Dust Bowl from occurring?
You can connect directly to the websites by using the right click
button on your mouse and selecting “open hyperlink.”
Skim the oral history interviews with people who survived the Depression. You’ll
find great, firsthand accounts here.
You’ll find general information here, plus additional links to articles related to the
Read about the causes of drought, how farmers coped with it, and what we
learned from the severe conditions our nation endured during the 1930s.
Peruse the “Timeline of the Great Depression.”
Here is an excellent site from the Library of Congress. It provides many
details about refugees who left the Dust Bowl in the hopes of finding work
in California. Try out some of the links. Look through the photo galleries
and listen to songs from the Great Depression.
A family from Oklahoma migrating to
View photographs from the Farm Security Administration (FSA)
Take some time to browse this collection of Depression-era photographs.
Particularly take note of the photos under the headings “Dust Storms,”
“Farms for Sale,” “Relocating: On the Road,” and “Migrant Workers.”
Read the excerpts from “Farming the Dust Bowl,” a memoir by
Lawrence Svobida, a Kansas wheat farmer who braved the drought, gusty
winds, and inescapable dust of the Great Plains in the 1930s.
Read about “Black Sunday” (April 14, 1935).
These striking black and white pictures depict Cimarron County. This county in
Oklahoma was struck very severely by the droughts.
Read about what President Roosevelt’s New Deal programs did to bring relief.
You will receive two grades for this project: one for the journal and one for
the guiding question responses. Remember, your style of writing will be
different for the journal and for the report.
I need to see evidence that you’ve explored the sites!
Journal (total 100 points)
1 2 3 4
All five entries written
At least five One journal entry or no Three or four journal
Two journal entries in a clear and ____
journal entries entries at all entries
Entries based on One or two entries Three or four entries
All journals clearly
factual places, No apparent basis on fact seem to be based on appear to be based ____
based on fact
events, or people. fact on fact
Some creativity High level of
page for the A cover or title page
exhibited, most creativity exhibited
journal including No Cover or title page with limited information ____
information is with all information
name, date, class, and little effort shown
included typed correctly
Many mistakes in errors make meaning Few grammatical No grammatical
Grammar grammar, which impede difficult to understand, errors, which do not errors and meaning ____
meaning but some meaning is impede meaning is clearly conveyed
Guiding Questions (total 45 points)
Professional, academic writing style (10 points)
Factual, evidence-based responses (10 points)
Correct grammar, spelling and punctuation (10 points)
All prompts answered, 1 point each (15 points)
It wasn’t until the autumn of 1939 that
rain watered the Dust Bowl, bringing an
end to the drought. Farmers could reap
harvests once again. The people of the
Great Plains felt tremendous gratitude
towards President Roosevelt and his New
Deal programs that helped them endure
the years of drought.