Guiding Questions and Author Q&A.

Suggested projects and activities

The following is a sample of the Guiding Questions and Author Q&A


 This section deals with big concepts and activities which will help students understand these concepts in general and in relationship to Dirt.

 Few students have the opportunity to hear what an author thinks. This is an opportunity for them to understand how literature is created, how historical novels are researched and my personal connections to many of the concepts developed.


Q&A with Author

Opening Discussion:   What is so interesting about the Depression and Dust Bowl?

From the author: “For the past eleven years, I have been the caretaker of my father, who is now ninety two-years- old. When he was very sick with heart surgery complications, we talked for hours and he described growing up during the depression. As he reminisced about those times, I started thinking about what it would be like growing up during that period. All that thinking started to form into a story for a book.

 I chose Oklahoma because adding together the depression, the struggles of the Dust Bowl, and being an orphan made for a more intense story. There are very few novels taking place in the Dust Bowl. It was a time where the true strength and grit of Americans was tested. It’s sad that this era isn’t taught much in schools today. So many people had no idea of the hardships and living conditions there. Although my father didn’t live in the Dust Bowl, many of the struggles were the same all over the country during the depression.”


The activities are divided by grade levels, although teachers are free to pick and choose according to their knowledge of the classes they teach.

8-9th  graders:  As a class, create a map of the Oklahoma Panhandle and the other areas most affected by the Dust Bowl.  Show some of the storms’ trajectories across the US, even to NYC. Watch trailer.

10-12th  graders:  In groups, have students create a map of areas affected by the Dust Bowl, using different colors to show most serious to moderately affected. Show the major Dust Bowl Storm trajectories across the country. Watch trailer.

The full course study will be provided with purchase of classroom books.






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S.L. Dwyer