History Detective Lesson Plan

Lesson Plan 6

Pioneer Farming

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  1. Students will explore historical documents and online resources that provide background information describing how land was surveyed and sold in the 1800's.
  2. Students will review the Iowa Agriculturist, retell the annual and seasonal cycle of farming and describe pioneer farming practices.
  3. Students will describe the impact of technological changes that occurred in pioneer farm equipment as a result of the Industrial Revolution (1750-1850) and how this transformed agriculture.

Activity Summary

  1. BUYING LAND: Start by asking students to review the map showing how and when land was purchased from the Indians. and complete the online quiz.
  2. SURVEYING LAND: Then, have students read and discuss how the land was surveyed and view the beautiful poster at the Library of Congress showing land prices in the 1800's.

    Ask students to compare land prices in the 1850's with the price of an acre of land today, and complete the math problems in the History Detective Challenge.
  3. 100 YEARS OF CHANGE: As students explore drawings, photos and documents depicting early farming in Iowa, discuss which farming tasks were completed during each season of the year. Using an LCD projector display some of the images on a large screen to prompt discussion.
  4. After exploring information about early farming, students can complete a chart comparing the characteristics of pioneer farming in 1800 and horse-powered farming in 1900. Students can illustrate their chart after reviewing paintings by Iowa artist, Grant Wood.
  5. FARM INVENTIONS: During the 19th century, many new inventions made farm work easier. The new agricultural equipment allowed farmers to plant and harvest more land. Using an LCD projector display the US Department of Agriculture's timeline of American agriculture and discuss the dramatic progress of agricultural equipment over the last 300 years. Use the timeline as a resource when students work with a partner to complete the Web-based Which Came First Quiz.

Extension Activities:

Lesson Plan - Glidden's Patent for Barbed Wire

Tips For Teachers

As students work with partners to complete the chart activity and quiz, inferring, analyzing and deduction will occur. These collaborative learning activities provide an opportunity for give and take discussion of findings and sharing of research responsibilities.

The collaboration rubrics may help when evaluating this activity.

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