The Dust Bowl
A lesson on the causes and remedies of the Dust Bowl of the 1930s. The reading is accompanied by true/false questions.
• To introduce students to the factors behind the Dust Bowl of the 1930s.
The Great Depression, a severe downturn in the American economy, lasted for the decade of the 1930s. The Great Depression negatively affected about sixty percent of the population as hundreds of thousands of workers could not find jobs. Other families who were fortunate enough to have savings lost their safety net when banks across the country failed.
As if the state of the country at the beginning of the Great Depression wasn’t already bad enough, weather severely impacted the southern Plains, especially western Kansas, eastern Colorado, northeastern New Mexico, as well as the Oklahoma and Texas Panhandle regions. These areas were affected by a drought that began in 1931 and lasted for ten years. Along with drought came winds which turned the dry topsoil into dust and the region was plagued with dust storms.
A dust storm consists of clouds of dust blowing across the land, covering everything with a layer of dust particles. Residents of areas experiencing dust storms had difficulty breathing when outside and used bandanas as masks. The ever-present dust invaded the inside of homes even though housewives hung wet sheets over the windows to capture the dust.