Grapes of Wrath

Grapes of Wrath (1940)


Concept featured in clip: The Dust Bowl

Location of clip: DVD: Chapter 4


Play Flickclip Here

Summary of clip: Tom Joad returns to his home to find it abandoned. As he walks to the front door, the dust from the yard is blown all around him. He finds out that the inhabitants of the area have been chased off of their land and no one remains. The dust has ruined the crops and removing the crops has made it even worse.

Connection of flickclip to the concept: During the 1930s, dust storms were prominent due to improper farming activities followed by a drastic drought. The clip portrays what it may have been like during this time.

Suggestions to teachers:

1. Suggested questions for students when viewing the clip:

a. What does vegetation do for soil stability?

b. In what ways can vegetation be removed from the land?

c. What happens if after there is too much grazing followed by a drought?

2. Using sand, disposable pie plates, Dixie cups, and tissues, erosion and the importance of vegetation can be represented in a group activity. Fill the pie plates with (moist) sand. Poke small holes in the bottom of one Dixie cup. Fill another Dixie cup with water. Build a mound of the sand. Hold the cup with holes over the mound of sand and pour the water from the other cup into the holey cup. Observe what happens to the mound as the water"rains" upon it. Next, rebuild the mound. Place a small tissue on top of the mound and pat it gently against the sand. Repeat the "rain" simulation. Observe the difference in the results on the mound. Explain to the students that the tissue represents the purpose of vegetation.

3. Have the students research the Dust Bowl and what the main causes and solution were. Have the students discuss modern technologies and practices that have been developed in response to situations such as the Dust Bowl. Discuss with the students how science and technology have worked together to develop the best techniques for modern farming and weather prediction.