Students watch a video about a general store in the “center” of the Bakken Formation and then answer questions about how the oil boom has affected small businesses and North Dakota's economy and culture.
This lesson is part of “Great States | North Dakota | Unit 9: Cultural Contributors” which gives students the opportunity to investigate some of the people, places, traditions, and past events that make North Dakota unique.
4.6: Students understand the importance of culture, individual identity, and group identity.
4.3.2: Identify ways that natural resources (e.g., soil, minerals, trees, fish, people) contribute to the economy of the local community and North Dakota
4.3.4: Identify principal exports of North Dakota (e.g., crops, energy, livestock).
- Video: Faces of the Oil Patch | Gary Koschmeder
- An interactive whiteboard, projector, or other type of screen to project the video to the class
- Class set of Oil Boom Businesses handout
- Tell students they will be watching a short video about Gary Koschmeder, the general manager of the Cenex station in Stanley, North Dakota. Stanley is known as “Bakken Central” due to the oil boom from the Bakken Formation. The formation was discovered in 1951, and it has led to North Dakota becoming second in crude oil production in the United States. Crude oil is now a major export for the state. Gary discusses how the oil boom affected his business.
- Provide students with the Oil Boom Businesses handout. Have students take notes on effects of the oil boom on small businesses.
- Play the video, Faces of the Oil Patch | Gary Koschmeder [4:41].
- Have students answer the questions on the handout. If time allows, discuss the answers.
- Small business used to be filled with just locals. Now they are busy 24/7 with oil workers [0:16]. Some businesses have had to change to the meet the needs of the oil workers. The store in the video needed to overhaul the bathrooms, build showers and laundry facilities, and add to the merchandise to provide products that the oil workers need (gloves, socks, clothes, tire chains, etc) [1:30, 0:54].
- Fuel demands increased, which, for the store in the video meant transporting fuel in by railway just to keep up [4:04]. Wages increased, which means an average higher standard of living for the communities [2:57]. Oil has become one of North Dakota’s main exports, contributing to economic success.