Causes and Effects of the Dust Bowl

Contributor: Danielle Childers. Lesson ID: 10131

What would happen if you collected the dust from your room in a bowl? How would it affect your mom? The Dust Bowl was a bad time in history, an effect from a cause. Learn about it with video and song!


United States

learning style
Kinesthetic, Visual
personality style
Golden Retriever
Grade Level
Intermediate (3-5)
Lesson Type
Quick Query

Lesson Plan - Get It!

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Imagine playing outside one Sunday and seeing in the sky a huge wall of black coming at you. The wall is as tall as a mountain and covers the horizon. Where would you run? Most likely, you would run to your safe house.

Now imagine your house is more of a shack and very unstable. As you peer outside, the black wall is coming closer to you, and then totally engulfs your house and dust blows in through the cracks in the walls. The blackness and dust last all night, and when you peer outside in the morning light, everything is covered with a foot of dust.

This is what happened in Northern Texas on April 14, 1935.

They call that day Black Sunday. Unfortunately, Black Sunday was not the only time these horrible dust storms hit Northern Texas and the Great Plains of west central United States. These dust storms happened for 10 years in the area they call the Dust Bowl.

Learn more about the Black Sunday storm through the voice of man who lived through it: Woody Guthrie.

Listen to his “Dust Storm Disaster” song in Dustbowl Disaster Slideshow (Revised), from gmbudt: 

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  • Can you believe those pictures? 
  • How does that song make you feel?
  • Why do you think such an event happened? 
 The “why” something happened is called a cause. There was not just one cause for the Dust Bowl. In this lesson, you will learn about the things that caused the Dust Bowl to occur.
From the Dust Bowl, many things were affected — not just the humans living there, but the way people farmed, and the migration to California. The effects are the “what happened” as the result of an event.

Continue on to the Got It? section, where you will learn more about cause and effect.

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