Curriculum for Ken Burns’ THE DUST BOWL

This Sunday and Monday, November 18 and 19, at 8pm WGBY airs THE DUST BOWL, Ken Burns’s latest film that chronicles the worst man-made ecological disaster in American history, documenting its causes, impact, and lessons as well as the personal stories of survival and human endurance.

Curriculum for THE DUST BOWL explores these subjects through a wide range of classroom activities exploring history, public policy, economics and ecology.  Carefully selected video segments from the series are integrated into the lesson activities to highlight subject matter themes and enhance student understanding of the historical period. Lesson plans, developed for grades 7-12 and adaptable to other grade levels, are written in standard PBS lesson format, complete with:   teacher information (goals, standards, and background), opening or warm up activity(s), featured activity(s) with short video clips (5 to 15 minutes) and discussion questions, culminating activities with authentic assessment, evaluation rubrics, extension activities, and resources.

Because the film is so rich in educational themes and teachers have a limited amount of time, a series of quick, adaptable Whirlwind Activities have also been adapted for classroom use. Each “whirlwind” contains a brief overview along with activity ideas you can use to create lessons tailored to your individual class curriculum and teaching style.

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