These materials are designed to support participation in the Dust Bowl National Youth Summit.  During the webcast, students will view clips from Ken Burns’s new documentary The Dust Bowl, and will hear from Burns himself on the creation of the film and the importance of examining the Dust Bowl today.  Then, students will hear from panelists working in environmental science and agriculture who will discuss the possibility of a modern Dust Bowl and what efforts are being made to prevent it.

For a brief introduction to the history of the Dust Bowl and to the film, have students view the Dust Bowl Preview or Uncovering the Dust Bowl video clip.

For additional resources, visit PBS’s website on the Dust Bowl

Pre-Session Materials

Suggestions for introducing the history of the Dust Bowl through text, song, and images are included below.  “Contemporary Connections” will help students consider modern agricultural issues and the essential questions for the discussion portion of the program: Could the Dust Bowl happen again? What can be done about it?

Dust Bowl in Text: Persuasive Rhetoric in the Dust Bowl Story

Dust Bowl in Song: Woody Guthrie’s Dust Bowl Ballads

Dust Bowl in Images: Storytelling in Pictures

Contemporary Connections: Could the Dust Bowl Happen Again?

During the Webcast

Students are encouraged to listen closely to the perspective brought to the discussion by the panelists.  The worksheet helps students follow one speaker very closely, to facilitate post-summit discussion.

Evaluating the Panelists

Post-Session Materials

After the session, students are encouraged to investigate a local environmental issue and its historical precedents more deeply. 

Call to Action: Investigate an Environmental Issue

All materials align to these national standards