America's most famous drought resulted in an environmental disaster called the Dust Bowl. From 1931 to 1939, a five-state region of the Great Plains received little rain and experienced horrendous dust storms that stripped the land of its topsoil. The event went on to shape the demographics of the American West as thousands of people migrated out of the plains and on to western states. In this activity, students will watch a PBS video and/or interact with the video's companion website. They will also examine maps and animations that show the distribution of drought patterns over the past 300 years; these maps were reconstructed from environmental records. Finally, students will examine the amount of time different areas spend in drought.


    Education Levels:

    • Grade 6
    • Grade 8
    • Grade 9


    Vocational/Professional Development Education,Extreme weather,NSDL,High School,oai:nsdl.org:2200/20110210190628190T,Undergraduate (Lower Division),Soils and Agriculture,Ecology, Forestry and Agriculture,Soils,Higher Education,Extreme Weather,NSDL_SetSpec_2669651,Water Quality and Quantity,Geoscience



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