BUILDING TOWNS: Students can review photos and maps showing how towns developed in the 1800's and research panoramic photographs of their own hometown's main street at the Library of Congress American Memory Collection. After exploring information about pioneer towns and model buildings at the Hoover Library in West Branch and Living History Farms, students can sketch a concept map identifying the characteristics and buildings of early pioneer towns. Students can use the information to draw a map, construct examples of buildings found in early pioneer towns, label their structures and develop make believe names for their towns.
FRONTIER PROBLEMS: Students will review a letter written by John and Sarah Kenyon, early settlers in eastern Iowa, to their relatives in Rhode Island. The letter describes what it was like to farm in the new state of Iowa and a frightening prairie fire experience. Another historical document describes prairie fires in the pioneer days.
Possible questions for a handout when reviewing the letter and historical document:
List three things the author said that you think are important.
List two things the document tells you about life on the prairie.
What is left unanswered by the document? Write a question that you would like to research?
Letter Home: Have students assume the role of one of the pioneers and write a letter to a friend describing their daily life.
Newsroom: Write a news story for a class issue called: Today's Big Stories on the Prairie.
Your Say: Develop a 2-minute television broadcast of a news story from the prairie; videotape the presentations and use QuickTime to place the broadcast presentations on the WWW. Students may use the Webliography to assist in developing their presentations.
The Freeman School: Building Prairie Communities Examines a one-room schoolhouse originally known as the Red-Brick School House, in Blakely Township, Nebraska, from 1872 to 1967. When closed, it was the oldest continuously used one-room school in Nebraska. It served not only as a school, but also as a church, meeting hall, polling place, social and political center of the community.
A number of library books describe pioneer life in the United States and provide a wealth of information for a reading center in the classroom.
Participate in the Westward Ho collaborative project. Load those wagons. Kiss the kin goodbye. Join the virtual Wagon train for an unforgettable learning adventure. Godspeed and safe journey... Yeeeeeeehaaaaaaaaaaa!