Chapter 14: Indian Camp

Teacher's Guide Chapter Author:Michael D. Tomorsky, 5th grade teacher, M.J. Christensen Elementary School, Clark County School District

Chapter Overview: Indian Camp
Pa takes Laura and Mary to see the the abandoned Indian camp. They travel in the midsummer heat across the prairie to investigate the site. When they arrive they look at the tracks and determine who had been at the camp. While they are there, Laura and Mary collect two handfuls of beads that have fallen to the ground. Laura gets a little frightened on the way back home by the size and noise of the wind on the prairie, so Pa carries her part of the way. When they arrive home, supper is almost done and baby Carrie is playing with wood blocks on the floor. Mary offers to give her beads to Carrie, something Laura would rather not do, not to disappoint Ma, Laura offers hers as well. Laura stews about not keeping the beads as she and Mary make necklaces for Carrie. In the end, Laura is happy about the time she spent with Pa at the camp and what a great day it had been.

Chapter Themes: Life on the prairie, Native American culture, generosity, habitat, ecosystems, climate, weather, conflicting cultures, westward expansion, arts and crafts, womens role on the plains, children's games, navigation, animal tracks

Chapter Activities
  • Language Arts
    • Thank You Pa
      • Laura feels special about her father taking her across the plain to see the Indian camp. She learns a lot about identifying tracks in the dirt and collects beads the Indians left behind. Students will write a letter, as if they were Laura, to Pa thanking him for the days adventure.
      • Standards Addressed
        • NV. ST. 5.5.2 Write organized friendly/business letters for a specific audience and purpose
        • NV. ST. 3.5.2 Make inferences about characters' traits. Make predictions about conflicts and resolutions
    • Working Things Out
      • Laura is quite upset that her sister offered to give her beads to Baby Carrie. Even while she creates a necklace with Mary, she thinks about trying to get the beads back. Students will write a dialogue between Mary and Laura focusing on both characters point of view, why Mary decided to give her beads away, and how Laura might resolve her feelings about following Mary's to give their sister the beads.
      • Standards Addressed
        • NV. ST. 3.5.2 Make inferences about characters' traits. Make predictions about conflicts and resolutions
        • NV. ST. 5.5.4 Write responses to literature that support judgements with text examples
  • Mathematics
    • How Many Beads Will It Take?
    • Laura and Mary create a necklace using the beads they found to give to sister Carrie. Measuring and finding a standard bead size, students will determine using mathematical operations, how many beads are need to make a complete necklace using a variety of string lengths.
      • Standards Addressed
        • NV. ST. 1.5.2 Add, subtract, multiply, divide whole numbers, and apply to practical situations
        • NV. ST. 6.5.5 Verify, interpret, and evaluate results determining an efficient strategy for the given situation
    • Mapquest
      • The Indian camp is quite a walk for Laura and her family. They make this journey without the use of a map. Using precise measurements, the students will create a map for other students to follow, to find a special location on the schools campus. The students will create their map using precise units of measure, write directions using mathematical terms.
      • Standards Addressed
        • NV. ST. Use physical materials, diagrams, and tables to represent and then communicate ideas
        • NV. ST. 6.5.10 Interpret and solve problems by paraphrasing, identifying necessary and extraneous information, selecting and justifying efficient methods, and/or strategies, and ensuring the answer is reasonable
  • Social Studies
    • Beads and Belts
      • Laura and Mary find and collect two handfuls of beads while at the Indian camp. Students will investigate the Wampum Belt, beads, and their significance to Native American tribes. Next, they will create their own Wampum Belt and the reason for its creation.
      • Standards Addressed
        • NV. ST 5.0 : 1200 to 1750: Students understand the impact of the interaction of peoples, cultures, and ideas from 1200 to 1750.
        • NV. ST 5.5.6 Describe Native North American life prior to European contact
    • Indian Survival on the Plains
      • When Laura investigates the Indian camp it becomes clear that the Indians have used the surrounding environment to survive. Students will investigate the lives of the Plains Indians, paying close attention to how they use the environment and available resources as part of their culture and lifestyle. The students will then create a diorama depicting life at typical Plains Indian settlement or camp.
      • Standards Addressed
        • NV. ST 5.5.6 Describe Native North American life prior to European contact
        • NV. ST. 11.5.2 Select Information from multiple sources to answer questions
  • Science
    • Clues in the Earth
      • While Laura, Mary, and Pa investigate the Indian camp, they notice the tracks the Indians left behind. as well as other animals. Students will learn to analyze animal tracks by their characteristics, and determine how these animals relate to each other in the food chain through the creation of Foldables and graphic organizers.
      • Standards Addressed
        • NV. ST. L.5.D.1 Students know animals and plants can be classified according to their observable characteristics.
        • NV. ST. 11.5.4 Record information using note-taking and organizational formats
    • Climate of the Plains
      • The days adventure takes place during midsummer on the plains. While Laura is walking back home, she notices how small she is compared to the size of the land, and the strong wind begins to frighten her. Students will investigate climate of the great plains and how it changes over the seasons. Then the students will make a poster or Foldable to present the information to class.
      • Standards Addressed
        • NV. ST. E.6.A Students understand the relationship between the Earth's atmosphere, topography, weather and climate.
        • NV. ST. 11.5.4 Record information using note-taking and organizational formats
    • Historical Overview of Chapter Themes
Westward expansion forced thousands of Native Americans west off their lands. This had a devastating effect on the these people as they tried to adapt to new surroundings. However there were Indians living on the prairie, who had a long and rich history of life on the ocean of grass. According to Riley, the harsh demands of the West changed some women's point of view of the natives. They began to empathise with the struggles all women on the plains faced no matter what color skin they had. Although many people reported of the plains Indians as being savages, many diary and journal entries of the women who lived their show a different attitude. The Plains Indians were masters at using resources and maintaining sustainability. By continuing to study and celebrate this culture, students can honor these people of the past.

Additional Resources

1 comment:

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

When working with the tracks, perhaps you could have students make tracks using their feet, some pets, and some forms of transportation.

There has to be a way you can bring owl pellets into this lesson. I just LOVE those things! :-)

I really like how you use the same themes from the text to teach different content objectives (e.g., using the beads for language arts and mathematics). This helps students see the interconnectedness of the curriculum.

Time and money permitting... it would be great to take students on a field trip to the Lost City Museum in Overton, NV ( where they can see, touch, and learn about native artifacts such as pottery, baskets, and jewelry and they can learn about the archeological processes of recovering historical artifacts and determining their historical significance.