EarthLabs > Drought > Lab 5: Droughts of the Past

Droughts of the Past


A great "roller" moves across the plains during the 1930's. Photo courtesy of USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service.

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 endured 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 other western states.

In this activity, you'll watch a PBS video and/or interact with the video's companion website. You'll also examine maps and animations that show the distribution of drought patterns across the contiguous U.S. over the past 300 years. Finally, you'll examine the amount of time different areas spend in drought.

Keeping Track of What You Learn

In these pages, you'll find two kinds of questions. Your teacher will let you know which questions you should answer and turn in.

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