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Pioneer Women - For Teachers

For Teachers


The Web-based Kelsey family letters, photographs and map study activities are recommended for grades 4-8.

The activities address understanding the life of Jane and James Kelsey, early pioneers who settled near Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

Activities require students to work as museum curators. They will interpret artifacts such as historical letters, photographs and maps to discover the story these resources contain.

Following the scientific method, students will start by forming hypotheses or "guesses" about the meaning of an object. Their hypotheses will then be tested by consulting sources of evidence that either confirm or disprove their "guesses"

For each source, suggested questions are provided on the classroom activities page. These can be adapted and applied to other artifacts as the teacher chooses.

Explore the following teaching and learning resources on the Kelsey family.

  • Classroom Activities — Lesson ideas organized categorically by letters, maps and photographs
  • Extension Ideas — Teaching suggestions that expand upon the resources of the History Center
  • Using Primary Sources — Definition of primary sources and the liabilities and assets of using them as teaching resources
  • Field Trip Guide — Rationale for field trips and activity suggestions for preparing students before, during and following field explorations outside the classroom
  • National Standards — Connections to national standards in the areas of history and literacy
  • Media Center
    • Books to Read — Children’s literature, fiction and non-fiction
    • Web Resources — Links to online resources related to pioneer life
    • Glossary — definitions of key terms students will use in their role as curators
  • For Students — Step by step procedures student curators will follow when interpreting the historical resources related to the Kelsey family.


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