Chapter 1: Going West

Teacher's Guide Chapter Author: Paige Karetny, 3rd grade teacher, J.T.McWilliams Elementary School, Clark County School District

Chapter Overview: Mary, Laura, Baby Carrie, Ma and Pa decide to pack up their little house and head west. Their family says goodbye to them and they begin the long trip across the mid-west. Their dog, Jack follows along, next to the wagon as they pass through Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri and finally, Kansas.

Chapter Themes: Crowding in the east, The freedom of the west, leaving family, trading.

Chapter Activities

  • Language Arts
    • Main Idea and Details
      • Students will work with a reading buddy to choose the main idea of the first chapter and the most important details. With their reading buddy they will restate the main idea in their own words and write it into a paragraph. This will be done after every chapter and saved into a Little House on the Prarie mini-book.
      • Standards Addressed
        • 4.3.2 Distinguish main idea and supporting details in text.
        • 5.3.4 Write responses to literature.
    • Cause and Effect
      • Students will work with a reading buddy to choose three causes and three effects of the move west. They will use the "Multi-Flow" Thinking Map.
      • Standards Addressed
        • 4.3.2 Distinguish cause/effect.
        • 4.3.4 Draw conclusions about text and support them with textual evidence.
  • Mathematics
    • What Would You Graph?
      • Students will think about what types of things they could graph on the plains. They will work with a partner to choose one question to graph and use information from the book, as well as their own imagination to graph their question. They will also come up with three multiple choice questions another team can answer based on their graph.
      • Standards Addressed
        • 5.3.1 Pose questions that can be used to guide data collection, organization and representation.
        • 2.3.1 Recognize patterns using numbers found in tables.
    • What's It Worth To YOu
      • Pa Ingalls trades two "tired brown horses" for two black ponies. He didn't need money, nor would it have been accepted by the Indian man he traded with. With a partner decide on a monetary value for the two tired brown horses (equal to the two black ponies). Then choose three other items in the story and determine their monetary value. Choose one item to trade for the ponies and show the money that would be exchanged using money notation.
      • Standards Addressed
        • 3.3.4 Determine possible combinations of coins and bills to equal given amounts, read, write and use money notation, recognize equivalent relationships between and among bills and coins.
        • 1.3.7 Add and subtract decimals using money as a model.

  • Social Studies
    • What's It Worth Today?
      • Students will discuss the trade made by Pa Ingalls and the reasons he did not use money. Students will then work with a partner to search Ask to find the price of two black ponies and two websites that sell horses.
      • Standards Addressed
        • {3}2.6 differentiate between barter and monetary trade [NS 3.3.1]
        • {3}2.7 give examples of prices received by a business for selling goods and services. [NS 3.3.2]
    • Rural, Suburban, or Urban
    • Students will discuss examples of the Ingalls family’s view of their community in Wisconsin and the many states they pass through. Compare each of these and identify those that are rural, suburban or urban. Discuss this in terms of the place you live, is it rural, suburban or urban?
      • Standards Addressed
        • {3}3.11 discuss how people view their communities [NS 2.3.3]
        • {3}3.24 describe the characteristics of rural, suburban, and urban communities [NS4.3.4]

  • Science
    • What's Crackin'?
    • Students will use blocks of ice to observe what they see, hear and feel when the ice melts. Students will work with a partner to alternately pour warm and hot water over blocks of ice. They will discuss what they see, hear and feel and chart it in their science notebooks.
      • Standards Addressed
        • P.5.A.3 Describe objects in terms of their observable properties (mass, color, temperature, texture). [2.3]
        • N.5.A.3 Draw conclusions from scientific evidence ( observations and measurements [1.5]
    • Jack's Adaptations
      • Jack, the dog travels alongside the Ingalls family. He runs behind, next to and underneath the Ingalls family wagon. Discuss the adaptations that allow him to travel outside the wagon. Compare him to the Ingalls children. Why can’t they survive outside the wagon?
      • Standards Addressed
      • L.5.B.1 Describe the structures that enable animals to grow and survive [4.4, 4.7]
      • L.5.C.5 Describe animal adaptations that allow them to survive in specific ecosystems [4.7]
Historical Overview of Chapter Themes

Westward Expansion: As the new nation became crowded in the east, and more land was acquired in the west, many families began thinking about moving west. Following the Louisiana Purchase, the expanse of America made many feel free to move toward greener pastures and more space. The Ingalls family felt the need to move west based on the changing of their neighborhood. What had once been a quiet Wisconsin woodland area was swiftly becoming a bustling village, filled with more people than the Ingalls family cared to see. Surprisingly, as the Ingalls family moved west they did not seem to be filled with the fear of the Indians that so many Americans were instilled with. Pa trades freely with the Indian man and travels through what must have been Indian country with little fear (at least let on for the children to see). His main fear seemes to be a fear of the elements of the land, the cold of the winter, the changing of the landscape through spring.

Additional Resources


jlsligar said...

I enjoyed reviewing your blog. I really felt the quality of the Lang. Arts/Reading entries was excellent. What better way to begin a new story off than by establishing the main idea and supporting details. Cause and effect are important concepts also and I love the way you have asked the students to summarize every chapter and keep a mini book of those summaries.
I would like to see some clarification in the math lessons. I am concerned that the task may be a little too open ended for some students. I would suggest that you provide a framework or sorts for the students to make decisions in regards to the value of horses, both tired and new. The follow up Social Studies lesson did provide clarification but I think it needs to be combined with the math lesson to make the task more understandable to students. Nice job on your blog!

Christy G. Keeler, Ph.D. said...

Could you add a graphic of a multi-flow map to your post? I'm not familiar with this term.

Paige Karetny said...

Dr. Keeler, the link to the thinking maps website shows a multi-flow map in use. If you think I should add another picture let me know.

Christy G. Keeler, Ph.D. said...

Thank you for pointing me to the site (sorry I missed it the first time). The site will continue to be helpful as I read other teachers' thinking map ideas. Thanks! :-)