Lessons Learned In West Branch

The teacher's desk in a restored 1870s classroom is seen from a pupil's desk.
The pupils' and teacher's desks in the schoolhouse

NPS Photo by John Tobiason

How did Herbert Hoover's early years in 19th century West Branch influence his character? Which character traits did he learn that made him a leader? Where do we get our own skills for success? A visit to the Birthplace Cottage, Blacksmith Shop, Schoolhouse, and Friends Meetinghouse helps answer these questions.

Plan Your Field Trip

There is no charge to visit Herbert Hoover National Historic Site or to reserve a guided tour. Plan your visit to find directions, operating hours, and other things to know before you come. Dress for the weather. Park rangers move activities indoors only during severe weather like thunderstorms, tornados, and floods. Picnic shelters are available for lunch, first-come first-served. The picnic shelters have trash containers to help you keep the park clean.

Reserve A Guided Tour

Interested in a ranger-guided tour for your field trip? Groups should be no larger than 30 participants per tour, including adults. "Lessons Learned In West Branch" is recommended for grades 3 through 5 but can be adjusted for other ages.

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Self-guided Tours

Are you guiding your class yourself? The Herbert Hoover NHS mobile app has photos, and a "Teachers" category with recommended tour stops and suggested activities. Educators may borrow a tablet with the mobile app from the Visitor Center. There is no charge to borrow a tablet but government-issued photo identification is required.

Reserve A Tablet

Pre-visit Activities

Contact us for HEHO! Activity Worksheets For Educators & Students.

  1. Word Jumble, Secret Sentence, and Missing Words. Introduce the vocabulary list. The list on the left has the same words, but the spelling is jumbled and the words are not in the same order. Once the words are un-jumbled, students use the coded letters to solve the Secret Sentence. Fill in the missing words from the vocabulary list in the Word Jumble.
  2. Crack the Code. To crack the code, students must fill in the missing numbers after each word they have solved. Once some numbers are filled in, they will give clues to the remaining missing letters in the words. All of the vowels plus B and Y have already been filled in to help get the students started in cracking the code.
    This activity is two pages. If it is run back to back, students may cut the code off to look at when completing the second page. Depending on the grade level, it may be helpful if the first sentence or two are done as a class. Also, this activity would be good to use for cooperative learning and work with a partner.
  3. Before and After. Directions for the students are on the activity sheet. This activity sheet also would be a good way for students to share what they have learned with their family about their field trip to Herbert Hoover National Historic Site.

Post-visit Activities

Contact us for HEHO! Activity Worksheets For Educators & Students.

  1. Storyteller. Directions for the students are on the activity sheet. This activity is another fun way for students to show what they learned with their families.
  2. High-five. This cooperative learning game gets students to share with each other what they learned. Teachers or students can write their own facts. A few suggestions for printing the cards are:
    • Print to card stock or construction paper
    • Print on regular paper, then cut and glue on to index cards
    • Laminate the cards
    Decide which partner will go first, such as: birthday order, or alphabetical order in first or last name. After every student receives a quiz card, the class stands and puts one arm straight up. Students walk around the room and high-five the first friend they meet. The first student reads the quiz card to the partner. If the student gets it right, they high-five each other. If the student gets it wrong, give a clue or the correct answer. Then give a high-five! Now it is the other friend’s turn. Repeat. After the third high-five, always switch quiz cards and find another friend to high-five!
  3. Letter to the Rangers. The rangers always appreciate and enjoy hearing from the students and teachers who visit our park. Kids can write about and draw what they learned or ask questions. Please send letters and drawings to: Herbert Hoover National Historic Site, PO Box 607, West Branch, Iowa 52358.

Field Trips, Student Activities

Lessons Learned In West Branch

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Grade Level:
Upper Elementary: Third Grade through Fifth Grade
Subject:
Social Studies
State Standards:
Iowa Core (3-5): SS.3-5.BS.2, SS.3-5.E.1, SS.3-5.H.1, SS.3-5.H.4, SS.3-5.PSCL.1;
Illinois Learning Standards (3-5): State Goals 16 & 18;
National Standards for History (3-5): Topic 1 Standard 1, Topic 2 Standards 3 & 4

Background

How did Herbert Hoover's early years in 19th century West Branch influence his character? Which character traits did he learn that made him a leader? Where do we get our own skills for success? A visit to the Birthplace Cottage, Blacksmith Shop, Schoolhouse, and Friends Meetinghouse helps answer these questions.