Aug 25

Winds of Change 8-5.5

Students in this lesson analyze and compare photographic evidence from Hurricane Hugo and the Hurricane of 1893.

Click here to download the full lesson with attached handouts. Winds of Change

Historical Background

“The Hurricane of 1893 was one of a series of seven that struck the South Carolina coast in a 20 year period. These hurricanes destroyed the rice fields of the Lowcountry and contributed to the end of ‘Carolina Gold’.”


The hurricane killed an estimated 1,000 to 2,000 people making it the 4th deadliest hurricane in U.S. history.  Most agree that the death toll could be higher since many poor African Americans were not capable of reporting casualties.


South Carolina Social Studies Support Document, Grade 8, 2008 http://ed.sc.gov/agency/Standards-and-Learning/Academic-Standards/old/cso/social_studies/social.html


South Carolina Standards

8-5.5 Summarize the human, agricultural, and economic costs of natural disasters and wars that occurred in South Carolina or involved South Carolinians in the late nineteenth century, including the Charleston earthquake of 1886, the hurricane of 1893, and the Spanish American War.



  • Students will analyze the devastation caused by the Hurricane of 1893.
  • Students will compare the damage of the Hurricane of 1893 and Hurricane Hugo


Time Required                                                                    Recommended Grade Level

1 class period                                                                          Elementary/Middle/High


Lesson Materials

Terminal and Docks Damage [http://digital.tcl.sc.edu/cdm4/item_viewer.php?CISOROOT=/sk12&CISOPTR=216&CISOBOX=1&REC=1]

The Battery  – Image A


The Battery  – Image B


Charleston Cyclone 1893 Bridge [http://digital.tcl.sc.edu/cdm4/item_viewer.php?CISOROOT=/sk12&CISOPTR=221&REC=4]

Charleston Cyclone, 1893, Houses


Charleston Cyclone, 1893, Carolina Yacht Club [http://digital.tcl.sc.edu/cdm4/item_viewer.php?CISOROOT=/sk12&CISOPTR=223&REC=6]

Damaged Houses, Sand Covered Streets Sullivans Island? 1893 [http://digital.tcl.sc.edu/cdm4/item_viewer.php?CISOROOT=/sk12&CISOPTR=236&REC=7]


Lesson Preparation

  1. Download all necessary photographs and resources needed to teach this lesson.
  2. Create points of emphasis to share with your students.


Lesson Procedure

  1. Teacher should introduce both the 1893 Hurricane that devastated the SC low country rice economy, as well as Hurricane Hugo which caused extensive damage to the SC coast in 1989. (10 min.)
  2. Divide students into groups of three.  Give each group a different copy of a picture of damage caused by Hurricane Hugo or the 1893 Hurricane.  (5 min.)
  3. Give each group a copy of the photo primary source worksheet (See attached).  Each group should use the primary source guide to answer a series of questions about the photo.  Students will study the photo and complete the guide. (15 min.)
  4. After each group finishes the guide, each individual student should write a 1-2 paragraph response to the following prompt: Imagine you lived through either Hurricane Hugo or the 1893 Hurricane.  Write a 2 paragraph letter to a friend describing how your life has changed and what challenges you face.  (15 Min.)
  5. Each group should present their findings.
  6. Teacher should guide the class to make connections between the 1893 Hurricane and Hurricane Hugo.



The primary source guide may be used as an assessment, as well as the Venn diagram.  Individual student responses can be graded for completion and accuracy.


Lesson Extension Options

  • Students should complete a Venn Diagram comparing the Hurricane of 1893 and Hurricane Hugo 1989. (See diagram attached.)


Digital Collections Information

This lesson plan is based on images and/or documents derived from the K-12 Primary Sources Pilot Project Collection available from the University of South Carolina’s Digital Collections Library.


To see other collections that may be helpful to your search, visit the Digital Collections homepage or visit SCDL’s collections.