Chapter 11: Indians in the House

Teacher's Guide Chapter Author: Lisa Franks, 3rd grade teacher, Elizabeth Wilhelm School Elementary School, Clark County School District

Chapter Overview: "Hunny, there's is no meat for dinner," Ma said. Pa took it upon himself to go hunting alone for dinner that evening while the family stayed behind. Mary and Laura were advised to stay with Jack (the families dog) but to keep him chained up. Jack usually is Pa's hunting assistant to help retrieve the kill. As the girls comforted Jack's feelings two Indian's approached the family cottage. Anxiety and fear filled Laura's soul and doubt fill her mind in making a decision to follow Pa's advise or allow her intuition to decide. She watched the Indians walk inside. Lucky Mary reminded Laura of Pa's orders and told her to obey because the situation could have turned worse than anticipated. The girls went inside to check on Ma and the baby to witness no harm. Though Ma was full of fear she knew how to keep the family safe till Pa returned home. She did as she was told and gave the Indian's tobacco and fed them a meal.

Pa returned with his hand full of game. He had a rabbit and two hens. As he entered the home he sensed an uneasy feeling and unfamiliar smell of skunk. As the family discussed their encounter with the Indian's Pa reassured his family's expectations to keep peace with his native neighbors. The lecturing continues as the Pa invited the girls to help clean the game for dinner. Laura's doubt was confirmed by Pa's intense re-explanation of his expectations.

Chapter Themes: Family Roles, Chores, Living in Community, Export/Import Good, Trade, Indian/Settler Relationships, Rules/Laws, Daily Life, Culture

Chapter Activities
  • Language Arts
    • Look a Native -- Part 1
      • Pre-Reading Activity: SWBAT listen to me read aloud page 138-140 and write down notes that describe the Indian's in chapter 11. Students will use their notes and draw the appearance of the Indians.
      • Standards Addressed
        • Word Analysis (1.3.1 Read Aloud with fluency, accuracy, appropriate intonation, and expression)
        • Reading Skills and Strategies (2.3.4 Restate facts and details in text to share information and organize ideas.)
        • Reading Skills and Strategies (2.3.3 Recall essential points; make and revise predictions)
        • Literature (3.3.2 Make inferences about setting, character traits; predict plot and verify)
        • Writing Genre (5.3.1 Write responses to literature, drawing upon experiences
    • Look a Native -- Part 2
      • Students will reread typed passage and highlight facts and include details in their drawing. Students will make inferences about the Indian characters and predict the purpose in the chapter. Students will read to find out if their predictions came true and write a reflection to their own predictions and read aloud their reflections in small reading groups (see above).


    • Cornbread Fractions
      • Students will use cornbread recipe and write out fractions with words and numbers on index card. Students will trace corn bread die-cut and color fractions on index card.
      • Standards Addressed
        • Number, Number Sense and Computation (1.3.9 Model, sketch and label fractions with denominators to 10: write fractions with numbers and words
    • Eating Cornbread Fractions
      • Student will use index fraction cards and cornbread fraction picture to play the game "Eating Cornbread Fractions." Player A and Player B will combine playing cards. Player A will quiz Player B with fraction pictures. Than Player B will quiz player A with fraction pictures. Each player will turn all playing cards over. Paper, rock, scissors to determine who will play first. The players will take turns to match up each picture with the written fraction. The player with the most cornbread matches will win.
      • Standards Addressed
        • Problem Solving (6.3.1 Apply previous experience to new problems.
        • Mathematical Communication and Reasoning (7.2.16 Express math ideas: use them to define, compare, and solve problems
  • Social Studies
    • Why Native?
      • Use description from Language Arts lesson and discuss the reasons for the relationship between the Ingall’s family and Indians. Define the rules of the Ingall house hold list them and compare them to rules of their home fill out double bubble sheet worksheet of similarities and differences. .
      • Standards Addressed
        • Civics (3) 1.4: Discuss why people form groups (N.S. 4.3.3)
        • Civics (3) 4.3 – Identify examples of rules, laws, and authorities that keep people safe and property secure.
    • Tribe Map
      • Use map from website (see below) Draw a simple map with a compass rose of selected tribe. Construct a map key that labels all states, rivers, mountains that surround the tribe.
      • Standards Addressed
        • Geography (3) 3.1 – Identify and use the cardinal directions on a compass rose to locate places on a map
        • Geography (3) 3.4- Construct a simple map, including title, symbols and directions (NS 1.3.4)
        • Geography (3) 3.39 Gather geographic information from maps, globes, and atlases (NS 7.3.1)
        • Geography (3) 3.40 Construct simple maps and graphs to display geographic information (NS 7.3.3)
      • Additional Resources for Social Studies
        • Tribe Map
        • Region Tribe Map

  • Science
    • Pa’s Kill
      • Students will research and write an animal report from selected animals in the story (For example: skunk, prairie hens, rabbits). Students will write/type an animal description, habitat, predator/prey, and life cycle. (See example on website: Research own website and compare and contrast life cycles of various living things.
      • Standards Addressed
        • Life Science (3) 4.1 – Investigate and describe ways that offspring may resemble and differ from parents and siblings may resemble and differ from each other
        • Life Science (3) 4.3-Investigate, compare and contrast life cycles of various living things.
    • Tools through the Decades
      • Student will use website and create a timeline of years each pioneer tool invention and label illustrations with three key points for the use of each tool. (
      • Standards Addressed
        • Nature and History of Science –(3) 1. 6 Create and use labeled illustrations, graphs, and charts to convey ideas and make predictions.
        • History (3) 4.14 Create a timelines that show people and events in sequence
Historical Overview of Chapter Themes

Pioneer Tools
For the early 19th century Indiana pioneer, the forests where he moved were both a blessing and a curse. The dense growth of trees and underbrush were sometimes almost impenetrable and clearing the land was a seemingly never-ending chore. But it was also the forests that provided so much of what was needed. It was from the trees that he obtained logs for his home and the wood from which he fashioned tools, furniture, and other utensils necessary for frontier life. In the process, he acquired the ability to identify which kinds of wood were best for specific purposes and became skillful with a variety of tools. To understand how important these tools were to the pioneer, we must know something about them and how they were used. Some of the more common tools are described here. Axe - The axe was the most useful and valuable tool the pioneer owned. He could use it to clear the land, cut fuel, build a cabin, and, if necessary, protect himself. But not all axes were alike; their design was often dictated by their intended use. The felling axe, used to chop trees down, had a long straight handle and a knife edge on the bit that would cut into the tree's bark. The broad axe had a short bent handle protruding outward from the side of the axe head and a chisel point on the bit. With these two tools, the felling axe and the broad axe, a pioneer could make a round log into a square beam. To do so, he stood on top of the log and cut deep vertical cuts into it with the felling axe. He then walked along beside the log and, using the broad axe, "hewed" it into a square beam by chiseling away the sides. The bent handle made it possible to do this without smashing his fingers against the log. Hammers - Because iron was a scarce commodity on the early frontier, and expensive when it could be found, many pioneers made their hammers from wood. Heavy hammers, used in driving wedges into logs for splitting, were called beetles or mauls. Sometimes these mauls were made from a single piece of wood taken from the trunk of a tree, usually a hickory, known for its hardness. One end would be left as a large "head," while the rest was shaped into a handle. Smaller hammers, called froe-clubs, were used to strike the knife-like wedge called a froe that was used to split shingles. They, too, were made entirely of wood. Adze - The adze was a sharp tool with its blade at a right angle to the handle. It was used to smooth out rough surfaces, or to hollow out wooden bowls. Adzes had long or short handles depending upon their intended use. Froe - The froe was a knife-like wedge of iron with a wooden handle set at a right angle. It was used to "rive" or split shingles. The pioneer struck it with a wooden froe club to drive it through a block of wood and split off thinner pieces that could be used as shingles.

Drawknife - It derived its name from the fact that the pioneer "drew" it toward himself. It was used to taper the sides of shingles, to rough-size the edges of floor boards and rough-trim paneling before planning them, to fashion axe, rake, and other tool handles, and to make stool legs, ox yokes, pump handles and wheel spokes. It was often used with a shaving horse which was a wooden seat that included a clamp block and a foot lever. A man sitting at the bench could push on the foot lever to clamp what he was working on under the block and hold it still.

Additional Resources

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