Lesson Plan

Freeing the Elwha: Life on the Homestead

Homestead

Overall Rating

Add your review
Grade Level:
Middle School: Sixth Grade through Eighth Grade
Subject:
Social Studies
Lesson Duration:
60 Minutes
Common Core Standards:
6-8.RH.1, 6-8.RH.2, 6-8.RH.7, 6-8.RH.9
State Standards:
Washington State Standards Social Studies: EALR 3 GEOGRAPHY, Component 3.2
Thinking Skills:
Understanding: Understand the main idea of material heard, viewed, or read. Interpret or summarize the ideas in own words. Applying: Apply an abstract idea in a concrete situation to solve a problem or relate it to a prior experience. Analyzing: Break down a concept or idea into parts and show the relationships among the parts. Creating: Bring together parts (elements, compounds) of knowledge to form a whole and build relationships for NEW situations. Evaluating: Make informed judgements about the value of ideas or materials. Use standards and criteria to support opinions and views.

Objective

After reading articles, students will brainstorm how living in 1890 was different than living today in the 21st century. Students will examine photographs of homesteads on the Olympic peninsula and complete a graphic organizer. Students will describe a homestead then choose something from today that would be useful to 1890 homesteaders and explain why. Students will be able to answer the question:

What was the life of a homesteader like and what tools from today would make their lives simpler?

Background

The purpose of this lesson is to ask students to consider what combination of factors both natural and manmade is necessary for healthy river restoration. Additionally, students will consider how these factors enhance the sustainability of natural and human communities.

Preparation

*Make one copy per student of each of the following:

  • Articles on Homesteading, Claims, and Daily Life
  • Graphic Organizer for Life on the Homestead Photographs
  • Time Machine Writing Prompt

*Each student will need two different colored highlighters. 

*Print one copy of the "Teacher Master - Graphic Organizer for Life on the Homestead Photographs" 

*Print off one set of "Life on the Homestead Photographs" per group of four students. 

*"Homestead Act Certificate" of Daniel Freeman project on the board or one copy given to each pair of students for closer analysis 

Materials

Print off one copy for each pair of students or for each student.

Download Homesteader Articles

Print off one copy for each group of four students.

Download Life on the Homestead Photographs and Photograph Information Sheet

Make one copy per student of the student graphic organizer. Print off and use the teacher graphic organizer as an answer key.

Download Graphic Organizer for Students and Teachers - Life on the Homestead Photographs

Project on board or make copies for student analysis during lesson hook.

Download Daniel Freeman Homestead Claim Certificate

Lesson Hook/Preview

*Project on the board or provide a copy to students of the "Homestead Certificate". Do not give the students context; instead, ask them to list what they see, what questions they have, and what they think is the significance of the primary source. 

*Explain to students that what they're looking at is a claim filed by Daniel Freeman to acquire land under the Homestead Act. On January 1, 1863, Daniel Freeman, a Union Army scout, was scheduled to leave Gage County, Nebraska Territory, to report for duty in St. Louis. At a New Year's Eve party the night before, Freeman met some local Land Office officials and convinced a clerk to open the office shortly after midnight in order to file a land claim. In doing so, Freeman became one of the first to take advantage of the opportunities provided by the Homestead Act, a law signed by President Abraham Lincoln on May 20, 1862. 

*Tell the students that today they will learn about the life of homesteaders like Daniel Freeman once they arrived in the west and compare that life to today. 

Procedure

1. Ask students to get in pairs and read the articles from the Olympic Peninsula Community Museum on homesteading, claims, and daily life. 

  • As students read the articles three times. First, just to understand the big ideas.
  • During the second reading, students should highlight any similarities between life in 1890 and today in one colored highlighter. 
  • During the third reading, students should highlight any differences between life in 1890 and today in the other colored highlighter. 

2. Ask the partners to sit with another set of partners to discuss the similarites and differences they identified.

3. Hand out to each group of four the set of photographs of homesteads on the Olympic peninsula and to each student the "Graphic Organizer - Life on the Homestead".  

4. As a group of four, students will complete the graphic organizer “Life on the Homestead”

5. Ask students to share what they learned from the photographs that they hadn't already learned from the articles.

6. On the board, ask students to make a list of significant challenges that the Homesteaders had in their daily lives.

7. Tell the students that in the assessment, they will be describing one of the homesteads from the photographs and explain what they think the homesteader would most like to have from this century on the homestead. Note: If you have a pre-discussion before the writing assignment get students to expand on initial answers to get to larger concepts. For example, if students mention an electronic device such as a TV, DVD, etc. guide the discussion to what makes those items operate: electricity and/or batteries and what else could be gained with those larger ideas. Other examples: medicine, indoor plumbing, telephone, etc.

Vocabulary

  • Cedar shakes - In North America shakes and shingles are typically made from Western Red Cedar. Shakes are split into 24 inch lengths, the most common length, 18 inch lengths, and 48 inch lengths (used for siding).
  • Cedar shingles - Shingles are sawn on all sides in lengths of 15 inches, 18 inches and 24 inches. Shingles are commonly used on the roof.

Assessment Materials

Time Machine Writing Prompt

Tell the students that in the assessment, they will be describing one of the homesteads from the photographs and explain what they think the homesteader would most like to have from this century on the homestead. Note: If you have a pre-discussion before the writing assignment get students to expand on initial answers to get to larger concepts. For example, if students mention an electronic device such as a TV, DVD, etc. guide the discussion to what makes those items operate such as electricity.

Time Machine Writing Prompt

Download Assessment

Supports for Struggling Learners

*Teacher-chosen heterogenous pairs for the article readings 

*Annotated articles to support learners that struggle with reading 

*Divide up the class into three groups and ask each group to only read one article. Then, jigsaw the groups to ensure all students comprehend all content. 

Enrichment Activities

*Ask students to analyze the following poster advertisement for Homestead Territories and consider how multiple perspectives made interpret the ad including an enslaved person, Native Americans, a Southerner, a Northerner, and other perspectives students brainstorm: 

Poster Advertisement: http://docsteach.org/documents/4662607/detail?menu=closed&mode=search&sortBy=relevance&q=homestead+act&commit=Go  

Additional Resources

Olympic National Park: 

https://www.nps.gov/olym/index.htm

Homestead Act Primary Sources from the National Archives: 

http://docsteach.org/documents/search?menu=open&mode=search&sortBy=relevance&q=homestead+act&commit=Go

Contact Information

Email us about this lesson plan

Last updated: July 30, 2015