Chapter 2: Crossing the Creek

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

Chapter Overview: Pa, Ma, Mary, Laura, Baby Carrie, Jack the dog and Pet and Patty the black ponies are continuing their trip westward out of the woods of Wisconsin. Ma and Pa work together to ford the creek but unfortunately Jack the dog does not make it across.

Chapter Themes: Working together; Westward expansion; Dangers of crossing the prairie; Geography on the trail (e.g., rivers to cross); Role of domesticated animals in the journey

Chapter Activities
  • Language Arts
    • Sequence Events
      • Students will work with a reading buddy to sequence the events in this chapter. Students will use a Flow Map Thinking Map to sequence the events.
      • Standards Addressed
        • 2.3.4 restate facts and details in text to share information and organized ideas
        • 2.3.3 recall essential points
    • Predictions
      • Students will work with a reading buddy to make predictions for the rest of the book. Students will write these predictions and add them to their reading notebooks. These predictions will be kept throughout the book and referred to and revised as new ideas are presented.
      • Standards Addressed
        • 2.3.3 make and revise predictions
        • 2.3.A1 Interpret information in new contexts
  • Mathematics
    • Wagon Multiplication
      • Students will use items in and on the wagon to help them memorize their multiplication facts. Students will come up with word problems using the people and items to help them remember. IE. There are 2 adults on the wagon, each adult has 2 legs. 2X2 = 4. There are 2 horses pulling the wagon, each horse has 4 legs. 2X4 = 8.
      • Standards Addressed
        • 1.3.5 immediately recall multoplication facts(products to 81)
        • 1.3.8 model multiplication in a variety of ways.
    • Fording the River
      • Students will use buckets of water, toy wagons and weights to measure the weight a wagon can sustain and safely cross the river. Students will first estimate the amount of weight a wagon can sustain (using the correct unit of measurement). Then students will add small amounts of weight to their wagon until the wagon does not float.
      • Standards Addressed
        • 3.3.2 select and use appropriate units of measure.
        • 3.3.2 measure to a required degree of accuracy
  • Social Studies
    • What Would You Do?
      • In Chapter 2, Ma Ingalls has to decide whether or not to help Pa ford the river. She chooses to help, and is able to save her family from drowning. How could this situation have been different if Ma had not chosen to help? How could this situation have been different if Pa had not asked Ma to help? How could the children have helped the situation?
      • Standards Addressed
        • {3}3.29 describe how cooperation and conflict affect people and places
        • {3}1.14 recognize the causes and effects of issues and problems.
    • Where is This Happening?
      • Students will begin to create a map that follows the path of the Ingalls family.
      • Standards Addressed
        • {3}3.41 select and explain information from several geographic sources
        • {3}3.42 create a visual model to illustrate the results of a geographic inquiry
  • Science
    • What Did We Do?
      • Students will reread Chapter 2 and reflect on how the Ingalls family affected the landscape of the area they were traveling through. What clues were given in the story to how the landscape looked? How did that change as the Ingalls family traveled through it.
      • Standards Addressed
        • L.5.C.3 Identify changes to an environment that can be beneficial or harmful to plans and animals.
        • N.5.A.3 Draw conclusions from scientific evidence.

    • Soil and Rocks
      • Students will observe soil from various areas to find the similarities and differences. Students will observe rocks from various areas to find the similarities and differences. Students will use rocks and soil from Las Vegas and will look for pictures of soil and rocks from around Kansas online to compare.
      • Standards Addressed
        • E.5.C.4 Explain that rocks are composed of different combinations of minerals.
        • E.5.C.5 Explain that soil has biolgoical and mineral components and varies from place to place.
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. As the family continues west they face the dangers of the land. We can also see a change in the relationship of Ma and Pa Ingalls as he begins to rely on her more as his right hand and not just his wife.

Additional Resources


Note: This teacher's guide was developed as part of one of the Clark County School District's Teaching American History grants. In this grant module, teachers focused on using children's historical literature to teach cross-curricular concepts relating to 19th century westward movement. For more information about this blog, related teacher's guides, or the grant module, please contact Dr. Christy Keeler.

1 comment:

DrummerGirl said...

I like how you have a lot of ongoing projects for your students. For example, I like how they are keeping track of their predictions in a journal. Maybe they can keep a map folded in their journal that they continue to update as they read.