Chapter 21: Indian Jamboree

Teacher's Guide Chapter Author: Rebecca McKenna, 3rd grade teacher, Fong Elementary School, Clark County School District

Chapter Overview: Pa has to go to town to sell his fur so that he can buy a plow. Ma is nervous about the Indians, but she knows that Charles must go. While he was gone Ma and the girls heard some different sounds coming from where the Indians lived. It made them a little scared and Ma made them all stay inside. Pa finally came home with a new plow, seeds, necessary food, potato starters and presents for his girls.

Chapter Themes: fur trade, Indian relations, fear of the unknown, how to protect oneself, necessary items for survival (plow, seeds, food)

Chapter Activities

  • Language Arts
    • Write a letter from the view point of Laura to the Indians
      • Have the kids write a letter from Laura to the Indians. Laura ask questions about their culture and why they were chanting. The Ingalls women are obviously nervous when they hear the chanting coming from the Indian camps. Laura could continue her letter by telling the Indians a little bit about herself also. By writing this letter I could see where the students might be confused in their own knowledge about Indians. I would also be able to monitor how they are perceiving Laura by the description they give of her. The letter Laura could write to her father would be one of query. She could ask questions about why he has to leave and
      • Standards Addressed
        • 5.3.2 Write friendly or formal letters
        • 5.3.4 Write responses to literature, drawing upon experiences
    • Presents
      • Have the students write about a time they received a gift that wasn't for their birthday or a holiday. Was it more special because it wasn't expected? Why did they receive the gift? Was it like Laura and Mary and one of their parents had gone away? Have them connect the feeling they had about the gift with how Laura and Mary felt.
      • Standards Addressed
        • 5.5 Write responses to literature, drawing upon experience
  • Mathematics
    • Compare and Contrast
      • Have students make a list of items that they might buy at the grocery store and then compare prices from now and around 1870. Have them add up the total for each list (taking into consideration the price per weight of the food). Have them discuss whether we or Laura have it better and why? (ie our food is more expensive but we have more to choose from, their food was probably healthier, our food is more plentiful and we don't have to wait for certain seasons, etc.)
      • Standards Addressed
        • 1.18, 1.19 Immediately recall and use addition, subtraction and multiplicaiton facts to 81

  • Social Studies
    • Indian Jamboree
      • Have students research what was an Indian Jamboree. They must find at least three research materials and their paper must have at least three paragraphs. The paper should address who, what, when, why and how.
      • Standards Addressed
        • 4.3.3 Discuss why people form groups
        • 5.2 Locate and use at least three sources to write an information paper
    • Indian Jamboree continued :)
      • Forming groups of three or four and using the information gathered from their research have students build a diarama depicting what a Jamboree might look like. Students must then present their diarama and explain their reasoning for the items in their presentation.
      • Standards Addressed
        • 2.3.2 Identify how language, music, stories, art and customs express culture.
        • 2.3.3 Discuss how people view their own communities
  • Science
    • Plant seeds using different environments
      • Students will plant seeds with different environments and analyze the growth of the plants. They will plant seeds in different types of soil and use different watering patterns. They will record their findings of which plants grow better and then discuss why. Then students can discuss why pioneers like the Ingalls made decisions based on land.
        • N5.A.5 Students know how to plan and conduct a safe and simple investigation.
        • N5.B.1 Students know that, throughout history, people of diverse cultures have provided scientific knowledge and technologies.

Historical Overview of Chapter Themes

When Charles Ingalls had to go trade his furs for goods he was upholding a pioneer tradition of more than 300 years. Fur trading was a common bartering tool used to obtain needed resources for the coming year. He most likely traded his furs at a 'rendevous' which was a convenient fur trading location. These 'rendevous' were set up at different times and different locations so that fur traders like Charles wouldn't need to travel to actual posts.

An Indian Jamboree or gathering usually occured once a year. Indian tribes that would normally fight would come together and hunt together. The tribes came together because they knew they were more powerful as one unit. They would team up and conduct buffalo stampedes/jumps. When the Indians would come together for this gathering it made many white settlers nervous. They were unsure of what was going on and were fearful of the unknown.

Additional Resources


Christina Tonemah said...

Fantastic ideas! Students are always engaged when there is some connection to their own lives. Comparing prices from then and now will keep the kids interested. I also liked your idea about the jamboree. Having students use their research to create a diarama will push their thinking even further.

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

How about having students research and then put on an Indian Jamboree?

For the math/economics activity, consider having determine what foods were considered staples in the Ingalls household and what are staples in their own households. Also, teach about inflation and have students compare the worth of $1 in the 1800s to its current worth.