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Frontier Life Story
Overview Procedures for Teachers Organizers for Students


In the PBS series, FRONTIER HOUSE, three modern families get a first-hand look at Montana pioneer life as they live out 5 months on the prairie under 1883 conditions. In this lesson, students undertake a similar (although not quite as drastic) adventure as they learn about the day-to-day realities of frontier life through a Laura Ingalls Wilder story: BY THE SHORES OF SILVER LAKE. The text is used as a springboard for further research about aspects of life back then, such as the availability of food and shelter, law keeping forces, and doctors. Finally, students reflect on which time period suits them better - then or now.

Grade Level:
Grades 3-5

Time Allotment:
6 class periods

Subject Matter:
Language Arts, History

Learning Objectives



Students will be able to:

  • Use a memoir as a springboard for further research.
  • Work cooperatively in research groups.
  • Lead discussions of the text.
  • Design a multi-media project.
  • Write an opinion piece.

Standards

Language Arts

Writing Standard 4: (Grades 3-5) Gathers and uses information for research purposes
http://www.mcrel.org/compendium/Benchmark.asp?SubjectID=7& StandardID=4
#1: Uses a variety of strategies to plan research (e.g., identifies possible topic by brainstorming, listing questions, using idea webs; organizes prior knowledge about a topic; develops a course of action; determines how to locate necessary information).

Writing Standard 4: (Grades 3-5) Gathers and uses information for research purposes
http://www.mcrel.org/compendium/Benchmark.asp?SubjectID=7& StandardID=4
#4: Uses electronic media to gather information (e.g., databases, Internet, CD-ROM, television shows, cassette recordings, videos, pull-down menus, word searches).

Reading Standard 6: (Grades 3-5) Uses reading skills and strategies to understand and interpret a variety of literary texts
http://www.mcrel.org/compendium/Benchmark.asp?SubjectID=7& StandardID=6
#1: Uses reading skills and strategies to understand a variety of informational texts (e.g., textbooks, biographical sketches, letters, diaries, directions, procedures, magazines).

This lesson was prepared by Suzanne Furlong.

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