Chapter 11: Harvest

Teacher's Guide Chapter Author: Selena McDowell and Jaime Tschan, 3rd grade teacher, Hal Smith Elementary School, Clark County School District

Chapter Overview: Laura's Pa and Uncle Henry are working the harvest. They are trying to harvest oat before the rain comes. Ma and Aunt Polly are at the house preparing supper. The children are in the yard playing. At lunch Pa and Uncle Henry return home to eat and when they return back to the field they take the oldest child, Charley, with them to help bring in the harvest faster.

Chapter Themes: Harvesting, male/female and adult/child responsibilities.

Chapter Activities
  • Language Arts
    • Activity Idea Compare and Contrast
      • Description: Students will compare the actions of Charley in the story to the little boy who cried wolf.
      • Standards Addressed
        • Standard 1
          3.3.3 Compare plots, setting, characters and points of view in a variety of works by a variety of authors from different cultures and times.
        • Standard 2
          3.3.4 Identify and compare themes or messages in reading selections.
    • Activity Idea 2 Journal Entry
      • Description: Description: Students can chose an event that happened in the chapter and write a journal entry about that event from the point of view of the characters
      • Standards Addressed
        • Standard 1
          3.3.2 Make inferences about setting and character’s traits; make predictions about plot; and check text for verification.
        • Standard 2
          3.5.5: Write responses to literature drawing upon experience through the use of journals and learning logs.
  • Mathematics
    • Activity Idea 1 Harvest Sale
      • Description: The students will price their harvest per half pound and determine how much money they will make when their entire harvest is sold.
      • Standards Addressed
        • Standard 1 3.3.5 Measure and record to a required degree of accuracy to the nearest half unit.
        • Standard 2
          3.1.22 Add and subtract decimals using money as a model.
    • Activity Idea 2 Multiplying Your Harvest
      • Description: Students will sketch a layout of their fields that demonstrates a multiplication equation i.e. 10x20
      • Standards Addressed
        • Standard 1 3.1.20 Multiply a two-or three-digit number by a multiple of ten
        • Standard 2
          3.D.6 Identify, explain and use mathematics in everyday life.
  • Social Studies
    • Activity Idea 1 Harvest Map
      • Description:
        Students construct a map of the United States noting location where certain products grow.
      • Standards Addressed
        • Standard 1
          3.3.4 Construct a simple map including title, symbols and directions.
        • Standard 2
          3.3.26 Investigate an economic product by asking and answering questions about location.
    • Activity Idea 2 Community Connections
      • Description: Describe the roles that males, females and children held in the community through a graphic organizer.
      • Standards Addressed
        • Standard 1
          3.3.11 Discuss how people view their communities.
        • Standard 2 3.3.15 Identify neighborhoods and communities as places where people live, work and play.
  • Science
    • Activity Idea 1 Bee Detective
      • Description: Students will research and describe the life cycle and habitats of a bee.
      • Standards Addressed
        • Standard 1
          3.4.2 Investigate, compare and contrast life cycles of various living things.
        • Standard 2
          3.4.7 Investigate, compare and contrast identifiable structures and characteristics of plants and animals that enable them to grow, reproduce and survive.
    • Activity Idea 2 Where Can I Grow?
      • Description: Students will research different regions of the U.S. and determine if crops that grow in one region would be able to grow in another.
      • Standards Addressed
        • Standard 1
          3.3.1 Investigate and describe that the Earth is composed of different kinds of material (rocks, soil, water and air).
        • Standard 2 3.3.3 Determine and explain that soil varies from place to place and has biological and mineral components.
Historical Overview of Chapter Themes

Chapter 11 in Little House in the Big Woods had many themes, but the community working together to gather the harvest was the chief focus. The Ingalls lived on a farm, or what was known as a general farm. Their main crop was wheat and they spent all year preparing for Autumn and the harvest. A single farmer alone could not do all the work needed to bring in the harvest in a timely manner. The community worked together, helping each other out, to bring in the harvest. Everyone in the family had their responsibilities.

The role of men in the community was to work the field and gather the harvest. Their days were long, hard and often started before sunrise and ended after sunset. Before going out to the field the men had to gather their own hand made equipment. This included: horses, water-jugs, tools for gathering the harvest, and possibly a gun for safety.

The role of the women in the community was to primarily work in the home. They prepared meals for their family and the families of others in the community that were helping harvest the fields. The women also completed chores in and around the house. One of her responsibilities was to also make clothing for the family. She would sometimes use material from the harvest itself to do this. As described in the chapter, Laura's mother used the tops of the oat to weave hats for the family. As discussed in Riley's book, A Place to Grow: Women in American History, women were an essential part of the community. They ran the household. The men and children truly depended on the women for many of their needs.

The children also had a role in the community during the harvest time. Usually the oldest children would help the men out in the field. Their jobs included: assisting in gathering the harvest and fetching water from the streams for the men, and many other things the men might need assistance with. Back at the house, children also completed other daily chores. These consisted of feeding the animals, milking the cows, and helping the women in anyway they needed. Sometimes the children had time to play games, but after their chores were completed.

The Ingalls were a typical example of how a community worked together during the settlement of the western expansion. Each person in the community had a role and they knew that the communities survival was hinged on everyone fulfilling their duty.

Additional Resources


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

Wonderful ideas!

Consider adding a technology component to your social studies/science lesson by having students use Google Earth or GIS to identify which parts of the country are most amendable for growing certain crops.

Rich Foster said...

Your mathematic/economic activity of pricing the harvest is a great idea. Introducing fractions and decimals with relationship to money. An extension for this activity could be to introduce the concept cost/profit to the students. Students could estimate what it could cost for seed and labor and understand that even if you are not paying someone for their labor, time spent is a cost. Students must decide what price they must put on the harvest in order to find the break even point and determine a profit.

Jessica Graham said...

I really like the math activities as well. Sometimes its more difficult to incorporate Math in chapter books like this. I know I was struggling while working on my blog. How fun that your students will be drawing an array of the harvest field!