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Thirteen Ed Online
Lesson Plans
Math for the Frontier
Overview Procedures for Teachers Organizers for Students

In the first episode of FRONTIER HOUSE, three families prepare for their journey into 1883 Montana. To prepare for the trip, they need to stockpile supplies that they will need for the journey. Planning a cross-country move, even in modern times, is no minor feat. In this lesson, students use math skills to get engaged with the frontier. Looking at an actual supply list from an 1880's homesteader, they'll examine what supplies were needed to travel to Montana, and how much it cost. Along the way, they'll learn about multiplication, frontier life, and inflation.

Grade Level:
Grades 3-5

Time Allotment:
5 to 7 periods (depending on the amount of time that students need to search for their information on the Internet)

Subject Matter:
English, History, Math

Learning Objectives

Students will be able to:

  • Research information on the Internet.
  • Practice multiplication and addition skills.
  • Work with adding and multiplying decimals.
  • Work cooperatively and collaboratively on a project.
  • Find modern day items that would be comparable to those from the past.
  • Relate historical information to their lives.
  • Write creatively about their experiences.
  • Learn the basics about inflation.


National Standards:

Mathematics Standard 3: Use basic and advanced procedures while performing the processes of computation.
Students solve real-world problems involving number operations (e.g., computations with dollars and cents).

Mathematics Standard 1: Uses a variety of strategies in the problem-solving process
Students use a variety of strategies to understand problem situations (e.g., discussing with peers, stating problems in own words, modeling problem with diagrams or physical objects, identifying a pattern). Students also learn to figure out the difference between pertinent and irrelevant information when solving problems.

New York Standards:

Mathematics Standard 3: Number and Numeration
Students use number sense and numeration to develop an understanding of the multiple uses of numbers in the real world, the use of numbers to communicate mathematically, and the use of numbers in the development of mathematical ideas.

This lesson was prepared by Anna Chan Rekate.