All Subjects
      All Types

        Info

        Grades

        3-5, 13+

        Permitted Use


        Part of Great States
        0 Favorites
        59 Views

        Oregon | Activity 7.2: Oregon or Bust

        Students examine a photo of a car with “Oregon or Bust” written on it, and learn about the economic climate at the time of the Great Depression. They then complete a cause and effect diagram to show what motivated workers to migrate West during the Great Depression.

        Lesson Summary

        Students examine a photo of a car with “Oregon or Bust” written on it, and learn about the economic climate at the time of the Great Depression. They then complete a cause and effect diagram to show what motivated workers to migrate West during the Great Depression.

        This lesson is part of "Oregon | Unit 7: Oregon’s Natural Resources and Economy." In this unit, students will examine Oregon’s natural resources and their significance to the state.

        Time Allotment

        15 minutes

        Learning Objectives

        Standards: 

        4.7: Use primary and secondary sources to create or describe a narrative about events in Oregon history.

        4.17: Analyze different buying choices and their opportunity costs while demonstrating the difference between needs and wants.

        Supplies

        Directions

        1. Project the image, Oregon Or Bust | The Great Depression | U.S. History.

        1. Ask students what they see in the image. It’s a photo of a man, Vernon Evans, leaning against his car with the words “Oregon or Bust” written on it. The image is from the Great Depression era, when the US economy crashed and left many people without jobs. Photographer Arthur Rothstein shot a series of images of rural and small-town America, capturing the daily struggles of the people who lived there. Vernon Evans was moving his family out West in search of new job opportunities.

        1. Distribute the Oregon or Bust handout to students.

        1. Teach students more about the economy at the time of the Great Depression:

          1. The Great Depression started in 1929 and lasted until 1939.

          2. In the “Roaring 20s,” life was good—people started spending money, accrued debt, and stock prices went up. The 1920s was also a time of technological innovations and advancements.

          3. In reality, the higher stock prices were artificially inflated, and during the summer of 1929, the stock market went through a series of decline. These declines came to a head when the stock market crashed in October of 1929. People panicked, many banks failed, and people lost a lot of money practically overnight.

          4. People tightened their purse strings, as the saying goes. They stopped spending money frivolously because they didn’t have any extra to spend.

          5. The decline in consumerism led to lower demand for products and services. Companies had to let go of workers since fewer people were buying their products or using their services.

          6. There were 15 million people unemployed by the mid-1930s. Men would line up at employment offices for a chance to find work.

          7. With few prospects in large cities and eastern states, many people traveled to find work. Families would pack up and follow the harvest looking for farm work, or move West looking for new opportunities.

          8. Further intensifying the economic crisis was the Dust Bowl, a combination of severe drought followed by overwhelming dust storms that began in 1931 and raged throughout the decade, destroying family farms in the Great Plains from Nebraska to Texas. Crop failure and loss of livestock devastated the families who had little to eat and nothing to sell. Two and a half million poverty-stricken people migrated from the Great Plains to the West Coast.

          9. Whether Vernon Evans from the “Oregon or Bust” image was an unemployed city dweller or a victim of the Dust Bowl, he became part of the desperate, but hopeful, migration to the West Coast.

          10. The phrase “Oregon or Bust” meant head to Oregon or nothing at all. The West Coast was the last chance for many people, and they had to give it their all.

        1. Have students fill in the cause and effect diagram on the handout.

        1. Ask students: “What type of things would you give up if you had to save money?”

        Answer Key:

        Column A:

        1. Stock market crashes in October of 1929

        2. People spend less money and/or banks fail

        3. Companies reduce production and let go of workers

        4. Unemployment rises

        5. People travel to find work

        Column B:

        1. Drought in Great Plains begins in 1931

        2. Severe dust storms follow

        3. The storms and drought cause crop failure and kill livestock on family farms

        4. Great Plains farm families become impoverished—nothing to eat or sell

        5. People travel to find work

        Contributor:
        Producer:

        You must be logged in to use this feature

        Need an account?
        Register Now