Chapter 15: Fever 'N' Ague

Teacher's Guide Chapter Author: Christina Tonemah, 3rd grade, Fong Elementary School, Clark County School District

Chapter Overview: The entire family became ill. It started with the children, then pa and ma. They were unable to take care of themselves or each other. They received help from strangers and were extremely grateful. Unknown to anyone at the time, the mosquitoes which they all believed to be only pests, were making everyone in the area sick.

Chapter Themes: community, sickness

Chapter Activities
  • Language Arts
    • Descriptive paragraph
      • Students will describe a time in which they were as sick as the Ingall's in chapter 15. They will explain why or why not they think it would have been more difficult to deal with an illness during that time.
      • Standards Addressed
        • (3)5.5 write response to literature, drawing upon experiences
        • (3)5.6 write compositions that retell a story in sequence
    • Summarize
      • After reading chapter 15, students will write a paragraph identifying the main idea, setting and sequence of important events for the chapter.
      • Standards Addressed
        • (3) 3.4 identify themes or messages in reading selections
        • (3)5.6 write compositions that retell a story in sequence

  • Mathematics
    • How Many Blackberries?
      • In the beginning of chapter 15 Laura was picking blackberries. Students will find the total amount of blackberries Laura picked. Create a variety of word problems for students to solve. Example: Laura picked 12 blackberries for ma, pa, Mary and herself. How many blackberries did she pick in all?
      • Standards Addressed
      • (3)1.18 immediately recall and use addition and subtraction facts
      • (3)1.19 immediately recall and use multiplication facts
    • Area of the Ingalls Cabin
      • Chapter 15 describes Laura crawling around the cabin to get water for Mary, who was also ill. Have students figure the area and perimeter of their cabin with given dimensions.
      • Standards Addressed
        • (3)3.4 identify perimeter and area
  • Social Studies
  • Think Quest
      • Have students work in pairs to complete one of two think quests. Both address hardships and daily life of the pioneers. or
      • Standards Addressed
        • Social Studies (3) describe experiences of pioneers moving west
  • Science
    • Mosquitoes
      • Students will research mosquitoes and how they are able to spread disease. Students will work with with a partner. Student will research information about mosquitoes and malaria. Students will write a descriptive paragraph about mosquitoes. Students will include the process by which the mosquito infects a person.
      • Standards Addressed
        • Language Arts (3)11.2 use a variety of library sources, media, and technology to find information on a topic
        • Language Arts (3)6.5 write a simple composition to address a main idea with supporting details.
        • Science L.5.D Understand that living things can be classified according to physical characteristics, behaviors and habitats
    • Growing Blackberries
      • Students will research and give directions for growing blackberries. Directions must be thorough and in sequence. Students must include preparation for planting, planting and care instructions.
      • Standards Addressed
        • Language Arts (3)5.2 locate, acknowledge and use at least three sources o write an informative paper
        • Science L.5.B Understand that living things have specialized structures that perform a variety of life functions

  • Historical Overview of Chapter Themes

    During the time of the pioneers, illness was a problem for many. Many factors played apart of rapid spread of illness and disease. Poor hygiene, dirty water, harsh living conditions all contributed to the spread of illness for pioneers. Pioneers had little knowledge of how these illnesses were spread or about treatment. The most common illnesses during that time for pioneers were malaria, small pox, cholera, and typhoid fever.

    Malaria, or what was referred to as fever n ague in “The Little House on the Prairie, is caused by being bitten by an infected mosquito. After being bitten a person will have symptoms similar to the common flu. Symptoms include sweats, chills, aches, fever, and abdominal pain. After being bitten by a mosquito the malaria travels to the person’s liver. Malaria cells grow rapidly and can cause death.

    Today, we have vaccines to prevent contracting these illnesses. The pioneers, however, did not have vaccines. The fever n ague described in ‘Little House on the Prairie’ was actually spread by mosquitoes, not bad watermelon. However, pioneers had little understanding of what and how the sickness was spread. They were unaware that mosquitoes were infecting the people. Illnesses were usually treated with homemade remedies.

    "For curing the Ague and fever [malaria]. . . Take one third Rhubarb and two thirds best Barks [bark from a tree or bush—sassafras was widely used in Indiana], mix them with Brandy or old whisky until they are about as thin as rich cream – take a wineglass full, 4 or 5 times a day. If it gripes too severely [causes stomach cramps], dilute it with water." [Written on an 1822 storekeeper's ledger. From Jones and Stockwell's General Store, Princeton, Indiana.]

    For the pioneers, community was essential. When a family became ill, such as the Ingall’s, their neighbors and community would often care for them. For the Ingall’s family, Dr. Tan and Mrs. Scott took it upon themselves to care for the family until they were well. This was common practice during the pioneer days.

    Additional Resources


Stharris said...

Great job on your lesson plans! They were well thought out and to the point. I would like to see a social studies lesson on doctors in there as well. How about how they were paid? Many doctors took food stuffs or services in lieu of cash payment. One idea is that students have to decide what services or goods they would be willing to forgo in return for medical help.

All in all, very good plans! Well Done!

DrummerGirl said...

I think students will really benefit from researching how to grow blackberries! We just took our students on a field trip to the Master Gardener Program and it was amazing how little we (including me!) knew about growing plants! It was the first time that many of us had seen fruit trees!

Also, you could integrate language arts by having the students create a poster/brochure/instruction booklet by summarizing the directions themselves. Or you could integrate technology and have students create a PowerPoint presentation explaining the steps for cultivating blackberries.

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

I love the idea of using ThinkQuests!

It might be nice to bring in several types of berries for students to try. Because your students live in the desert, many probably don't know the difference between blackberries, raspberries, and other types.

I really like the idea of learning the science of disease. Perhaps the students could create posters to tell others about the dangers of mosquitoes or they could create 30 second audio or video commercials about mosquitoes.