Lesson Plan Four
Women on the American Frontier:
Content: Social Studies: U.S.History
1. Participants will be able to explain methods used by frontier women to survive using only the environment surrounding them.
2. Participants will be able to identify several Kentucky women on the frontier and their contributions to history.
3. Participants will be able to visualize activities of frontier women and compare these activities to current activities of men and women today.
Key Concepts/Material and Resources:
Women on the Frontier: an Overview
SS-08-5.1.1 Students will use a variety of tools (e.g., primary and secondary sources) to describe and explain historical events and conditions and to analyze the perspectives of different individuals and groups (e.g., gender, race, region, ethnic group, age, economic status, religion, and political group) in U.S. history prior to Reconstruction.
SS-08-5.1.2 Students will explain how history is a series of connected events shaped by multiple cause-and-effect relationships and give examples of those relationships.
SS-08-5.2.3 Students will explain how the growth of democracy and geographic expansion occurred and were significant to the development of the United States prior to Reconstruction.
Through this program, students will not only be able to understand but to experience life on the frontier. Students will understand the life and thoughts of frontier women through their daily activities (SS-0805.1.1). Students will also be able to explain how the role of women on the frontier was not only an effect of traditional gender roles but of necessity (SS-08-5.1.2). Furthermore, students will be able to place the role of frontier women into the larger picture of westward expansion and the growth of democracy into the frontier (SS-08-5.2.3).
A. Students need:
1. You may have heard of pioneers and frontiersmen like Daniel Boone, Simon Kenton, or James Harrod, but have you ever heard the names Mary Draper Ingles, Jenny Wiley, or Jane Todd Crawford? When you study famous Kentuckians like Abraham Lincoln and talk about his humble beginnings on the frontier, do you ever discuss the contributions of his mother Nancy Hanks Lincoln? (Pass out “Women on Frontier Stories Handout and “Who am I?” worksheet.)
2. Women played a very important role on the Kentucky frontier and today we’ll talk about some of the problems on the frontier and the solutions that the ladies on the frontier developed.
3. Today when we have a stomach ache or a cut we go to drug store and buy medicine to cure our ailments. When Abraham Lincoln was a boy, medicines were not readily available and your surroundings often acted as a pharmacy. Nancy Hanks Lincoln would have known about herbal remedies and also about the different plants that make a specific dye, tea, or pot herb. We will identify several plants that could have been found in the field of the Lincoln farm. Further research will identify how Nancy Lincoln would have used them. (Pass out “Plants on the Frontier” handout, “Plants on the Frontier: Story and Song” handout and “Plants on the Frontier” worksheet)
C. Lesson Expectations:
Deliver the Objectives:
1. You will be able to explain methods used by frontier women to survive using only the environment surrounding them.
2. You will be able to identify several Kentucky women on the frontier and their contributions to history.
A. Activity components:
1. Discuss Plants on the Frontier: Review the common plants found on the frontier. Review those that are common still today. Discuss how students could go home and find several in their own neighborhood! Many of these plants were problem solvers for great dilemmas on the frontier.
a. Ask students to read “Plants on the Frontier” handout and “Plants on the Frontier: Story and Song” handout and then find more information on frontier plants.
b. Discuss: food plants including walnut, ribwort, and violet leaves.
c. Discuss: possibly poisonous plants and often misidentified plants including daisy flea bane, Queen Ann’s lace, and Virginia creeper.
d. Discuss: plants that were useful medicinally or could be used as a pot herb including sassafras, raspberry, and the paw paw tree.
e. Require students to complete the “Plants on the Frontier” worksheet
a. View video clips:
b. Compare the daily activities of women on the frontier to similar activities preformed currently. How do these differ? Discuss the difficulties pioneer women had to endure to complete these daily activities.
3. Study contributions frontier women had on Abraham Lincoln and his humble beginnings on the frontier.
b. Require students to complete the “Who am I?” worksheet.
Hopefully today you’ve come to understand a bit more about the importance of women on the Kentucky frontier.
From this point forward when you hear about the life of frontiersmen, you can remember and inquire about the input of women. This can apply to any point in history!
Encourage students to play Question and Answer PowerPoint game on Abraham Lincoln and Women on the Frontier.
This program provides much needed insight into the roles of women throughout history. Women are overlooked both in textbooks and at historic sites if for no other reason than because women were generally not the writers of history. The most common student responses are: “I never knew women worked so hard!” “Frontier women worked harder than men!” Most students are in awe of what our foremothers accomplished. Because of the feedback received, it cannot be denied that more programs highlighting the impact of women throughout history should be initiated.
This lesson plan has an accompanying link for students that contain activities and games for student interaction. These activities are the interactive components from this lesson plan plus additional games and fun facts for the student. Overviews of the various components are listed below:
Information on Women of the Frontier and Plants on the Frontier:
Women on Frontier: an Overview
Last updated: April 14, 2015