Teacher's Overview

Pioneer Farming

exploring the prairie module icon
  1. CampSilos in the Classroom: What Teachers are Saying
  2. National Standards
  3. Goals and Objectives
  4. Lesson Plans
    1. Introduction
    2. Quick Facts
    3. Pioneer Homes
    4. Scavenger Hunt
    5. Life as a Pioneer - Includes why move west, traveling west, building towns, frontier problems, American Gothic
      Using Primary Source Materials
    6. History Detective - Early Farming Practices
      Includes buying land, surveying land, 100 years of change, and farm inventions.
    7. Mystery Photo and Invention Convention
  1. Student Activities
  2. Field Trips
  3. Pioneer Resources and Webliography
  4. Recommended Readings in Iowa History
    The Iowa Historical Society provides a bibliography of books for teachers about African Americans in Iowa, education, environmental issues, immigration and ethnicity, Native Americans, labor, literature, politics and law, religion, rural and agricultural issues, towns and town development, and women in Iowa.
  5. CampSilos Feedback Form

Goals and Objectives


Based upon reading original source materials and online resources, students will understand 19th century Iowa pioneer farming including the limitations and opportunities associated with the natural environment as well as the impact of emerging technologies.

Specific Objectives

Upon completion of the learning activities in the Pioneer Module, students will be able to:

  • Describe why early pioneers settled on the Iowa prairie.
  • Locate log cabin and sod house frontiers and explain the relationship of the housing type to the natural environment.
  • Explain how fire brought renewal to the prairie and describe the effect on the pioneer farm.
  • Identify the major crops and livestock raised by 19th century pioneer farmers.
  • Retell the annual and seasonal cycle of farming.
  • Describe the impact of technology on farming practices during the 19th century.
  • Compare and contrast activities of present-day life with life in pioneer times.
  • Describe the impact of railroading on the emerging farm economy.

Student Activities

  1. Introduction
  2. Quick Facts
  3. Pioneer Homes - Hypothesis
  4. Scavenger Hunt-Pioneer Homes
  5. Life as a Pioneer
  6. History Detective
  7. Mystery Photo
  8. Pioneer Library
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