Lesson Plan

Dust Bowl Days - Of Mice and Men

This App Flow will help students gather background information on The Dust Bowl prior to reading Of Mice and Men
Mary C.
Media specialist/librarian
San Elijo Middle School
San Marcos, United States
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Students will be able to...

  • understand the Dust Bowl and its part in the Great Depression
  • explain the impact of the Dust Bowl on individuals and families, especially in respect to migration
  • explain the impact of the Dust Bowl on agriculture in California
  • explain the role of government programs during the Great Depression
  • understand the role of artists, musicians and photographers during the Great Depression

Common Core State Standards addressed:

Use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing and present the relationships between information and ideas efficiently as well as to interact and collaborate with others.

Conduct short research projects to answer a question (including a self-generated question), drawing on several sources and generating additional related, focused questions that allow for multiple avenues of exploration.

Gather relevant information from multiple print and digital sources, using search terms effectively; assess the credibility and accuracy of each source; and quote or paraphrase the data and conclusions of others while avoiding plagiarism and following a standard format for citation.


English Language Arts
Grades 8
All Notes
Teacher Notes
Student Notes

1 Hook

Tell students we will be exploring multimedia resources about the Dust Bowl and the Great Depression. Ask what background information they have about the topic from social studies or prior reading. Explain that lesson will give them greater comprehension of the setting of the novel Of Mice and Men, and some insight into the characters' motivations.

Show the introductory video to Ken Burns' The Dust Bowl on PBS Learning Media.

2 Direct Instruction

Students will use the Dust Bowl Migration Primary Source Set found on the Library of Congress teachers' website: <http://www.loc.gov/teachers/classroommaterials/primarysourcesets/dust-bo... Have students use the graphic organizers found on the site as they view the photos and other primary source documents. Working in groups, students will then choose from the following topics for research: Migration to California, conditions that led to the Dust Bowl, FSA camps, farm life in California, ballads and oral history during the Great Depression, Civilian Conservation Corps, FSA photographers, 


3 Guided Practice

Google Drive
Free, Paid

Students will produce short research projects using Google Presentation in their Google Drive accounts. All collaborative work will be done in Google Drive, including note taking, bibliography, queries to the teacher.

4 Independent Practice

Using primary source images and documents, (and using proper attribution) students will create found poems and present them on Haiku Deck. Each student in the group will be reponsible for one slide with a found poem. 

5 Wrap-Up

Each student will respond on a teacher-created Voicethread. Students must share something they learned or were reminded of, and must respond to at least two other students' comments.  Voicethread allows all students to have a voice in the discussion of the material in a way that a classroom discussion may not.  Honors students may also record a reading of their found poems and share via WeVideo.