Homestead Narratives

Summary

Students will identify groups of people who settled new lands as a result of the Homestead Act of 1862, analyze their motives for moving, and write in a variety of forms with an emphasis on narration.

Coin Type(s)

  • Quarter

Coin Program(s)

  • America the Beautiful Quarters

Objectives

Students will identify groups of people who settled new lands as a result of the Homestead Act of 1862, analyze their motives for moving, and write in a variety of forms with an emphasis on narration.

Major Subject Area Connections

  • Social Studies
  • Language Arts
  • Technology

Grades

  • 7th
  • 8th

Class Time

  • Sessions: Five
  • Session Length: 45-60 minutes
  • Total Length: 151-500 minutes

Groupings

  • Whole group
  • Individual work

Background Knowledge

  • Westward expansion
  • The writing process
  • Narratives
  • Monologue
  • Repeal
  • Survey
  • Immigrant
  • Vouch
  • Coordinates
  • Hardships

Terms and Concepts

  • Quarter
  • Obverse (front)
  • Reverse (back)
  • Homestead
  • Homestead Act of 1862
  • Motive
  • Acre

Materials

  • 1 projection technology or equivalent technology such as a computer or overhead projector
  • 1 overhead transparency (or photocopy) of the following:
    • "Homestead National Monument of America Quarter" page
    • "Homestead Act Organizer 1" graphic organizer
    • "Daniel Freeman Script"
  • Copies of the following:
    • "Homestead Background Knowledge" worksheet
    • "Homestead Act Organizer 1" graphic organizer
    • "Homestead Act Organizer 2" graphic organizer
    • "Homestead Narratives Rubric"
    • "Daniel Freeman Script"
  • 1 class map of the United States
  • Locate age-appropriate texts that contain information on Homestead National Monument of America, such as:
    • Nebraska: Celebrate the States by Ruth Bjorkhund and Marlee Richards (excerpts)
    • America's Best Historic Sites by B.J. Welborn (excerpts)
    • National Geographic Complete National Parks of the United States by Mel White (excerpts)
  • Locate age-appropriate texts that contain information on homesteaders, such as:
    • Pioneer Girl: The Story of Laura Ingalls Wilder by William Anderson
    • Homesteading: Settling America's Heartland by Dorothy Patent
    • The Story of the Homestead Act (Cornerstones of Freedom) by R. Conrad Stein
  • Chart paper, whiteboard, or interactive whiteboard
  • Computers with Internet access

Preparations

Worksheets

Worksheets and files (PDF)

Lesson Steps

Session 1

  1. Display and examine the "Homestead National Monument of America Quarter" page. Locate this site on a class map. Note its position in relation to your school's location. As background information, explain to the students that the United States Mint began to issue the quarters in the America the Beautiful Quarters® Program in 2010. By the time the program ends in 2021, there will be a total of 56 designs. Each design will focus on a different national site—one from each state, territory, and the District of Columbia.
  2. Describe the America the Beautiful Quarters Program for background information. Tell the students that the back of a coin is called the "reverse" and "obverse" is another name for the front. Answer any student questions.
  3. With the students, examine the coin design. Have the students identify the images included in this design (fundamentals for survival : food, shelter and water). Have the students define the word "homestead" using a dictionary or textbook. Lead a discussion to conclude that a homestead is any dwelling, including its land and buildings, where a family makes its home.
  4. Ask the students if they have ever moved to a new place or school. Ask the students for the reasons they moved. Record student responses on chart paper. Discuss the word "motive." Lead the students to conclude that a motive is the reason someone does something. Discuss other reasons people may move to a new place. Record student responses on chart paper.
  5. Ask the students if their parents or someone they know have done things around their house to improve it, such as paint or add a porch or deck. Record responses on chart paper. Discuss the reasons for these improvements.
  6. Display or have the students search the Homestead National Monument of America Web site at www.nps.gov/home/historyculture/index.htm. Lead a class discussion on the Homestead Act of 1862. Use the Web site to lead a class discussion on this time period and the hardships people faced at this time. Discuss the motives for moving and the need to improve living conditions.
  7. Distribute the "Homestead Background Knowledge" worksheet. Review the directions and the questions with the students. Have the students research the site or use selected texts to answer the questions on the worksheet.
  8. Collect the "Homestead Background Knowledge" worksheet. (Remember to grade them before the next session.)
  9. Lead a class discussion on how the homesteaders must have felt leaving their homes and pursuing this opportunity which had many hardships. Record student responses on chart paper.

Sessions 2 and 3

  1. Distribute the graded "Homestead Background Knowledge" worksheet to the students. Review the answers to the questions. Lead a class discussion on how much land 160 acres covers. Tell the students how many acres the school's campus occupies. If this number isn't available, tell the students that an average American football field measures about 1.3 acres. Have them compare this size to 160 acres.
  2. Distribute and display the "Homestead Act Organizer 1" graphic organizer. Review the directions with the students. Complete the timeline at the top of the graphic organizer. Using information from the "Homestead Background Knowledge" worksheet, complete the sequence chain to show the process a settler had to go through to obtain land.
  3. Display or have the students search www.nps.gov/home/historyculture/firsthomesteader.htm for Daniel Freeman. Have the students read the selection. Complete the Homesteader graphic organizer on the "Homestead Act Organizer 1" with the students. Use the information on Daniel Freeman as the homesteader.
  4. Distribute a copy of the "Homestead Act Organizer 2" graphic organizer to the students. Explain to the students that they will be researching a homesteader of their choice.
  5. Locate Web pages that list biographies of homesteaders, such as www.nps.gov/home/historyculture/homesteadinglegacies.htm. They will be completing the organizer and then writing a narrative from that person's perspective. It could be in the form of a letter, story, or monologue. Review the writing process with the students.
  6. Allow time for the students to research, using selected texts or computers, and write their narratives.

Session 4

  1. Review the coin image and materials from the previous sessions.
  2. Distribute and review the "Homestead Narratives Rubric" with the students. Explain to the students that they will be creating an illustration to go with their narratives. This can be done on paper or electronically. The illustration can be of the person they researched, the place where the person moved from, or the land or buildings on their new land.
  3. Explain to the students that they will be narrating their illustrations as if they are the person they researched. Share the Daniel Freeman script narration with the students.
  4. Allow time for the students to complete their illustration and to narrate their illustration.

Session 5

  1. Have the students present their narrations. Have the students complete the "Homestead Narratives Rubric."
  2. Collect the completed rubrics.

Differentiated Learning Options

  • Allow students to work in pairs or small groups on the research.
  • Provide audio or video versions of information for the student research.
  • Allow students to use the Daniel Freeman organizer to create their project.
  • Provide illustrations for students to use in their narration.

Enrichments/Extensions

  • Have the students work in small groups to write and perform a skit about homesteader.
  • Have the students create a multimedia presentation of the narratives and illustrations.
  • Have the students create a graphic novel on the life of a homesteader.
  • Measure an acre or the school grounds. Take the students outside to see the size.

Assess

  • Use the "Homestead Background Knowledge" worksheet to assess student understanding of the Homestead Act of 1862.
  • Use the "Homestead Narratives Rubric" to assess student understanding of the lives of the homesteaders.

Common Core Standards

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: RL.7 Reading: Informational Text
Grade(s): Grade 7
Cluster: Craft and Structure
Standards:

  • RI.7.4. Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative, connotative, and technical meanings; analyze the impact of a specific word choice on meaning and tone.
  • RI.7.5. Analyze the structure an author uses to organize a text, including how the major sections contribute to the whole and to the development of the ideas.
  • RI.7.6. Determine an author’s point of view or purpose in a text and analyze how the author distinguishes his or her position from that of others.

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: RL.7 Reading: Literature
Grade(s): Grade 7
Cluster: Craft and Structure
Standards:

  • RL.7.4. Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative and connotative meanings; analyze the impact of rhymes and other repetitions of sounds (e.g., alliteration) on a specific verse or stanza of a poem or section of a story or drama.
  • RL.7.5. Analyze how a drama’s or poem’s form or structure (e.g., soliloquy, sonnet) contributes to its meaning.
  • RL.7.6. Analyze how an author develops and contrasts the points of view of different characters or narrators in a text.

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: W.7 Writing
Grade(s): Grade 7
Cluster: Text Types and Purposes
Standards:

  • W.7.1. Write arguments to support claims with clear reasons and relevant evidence.
    • Introduce claim(s), acknowledge alternate or opposing claims, and organize the reasons and evidence logically.
    • Support claim(s) with logical reasoning and relevant evidence, using accurate, credible sources and demonstrating an understanding of the topic or text.
    • Use words, phrases, and clauses to create cohesion and clarify the relationships among claim(s), reasons, and evidence.
    • Establish and maintain a formal style.
    • Provide a concluding statement or section that follows from and supports the argument presented.
  • W.7.2. Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas, concepts, and information through the selection, organization, and analysis of relevant content.
    • Introduce a topic clearly, previewing what is to follow; organize ideas, concepts, and information, using strategies such as definition, classification, comparison/contrast, and cause/effect; include formatting (e.g., headings), graphics (e.g., charts, tables), and multimedia when useful to aiding comprehension.
    • Develop the topic with relevant facts, definitions, concrete details, quotations, or other information and examples.
    • Use appropriate transitions to create cohesion and clarify the relationships among ideas and concepts.
    • Use precise language and domain-specific vocabulary to inform about or explain the topic.
    • Establish and maintain a formal style.
    • Provide a concluding statement or section that follows from and supports the information or explanation presented.
  • W.7.3. Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, relevant descriptive details, and well-structured event sequences.
    • Engage and orient the reader by establishing a context and point of view and introducing a narrator and/or characters; organize an event sequence that unfolds naturally and logically.
    • Use narrative techniques, such as dialogue, pacing, and description, to develop experiences, events, and/or characters.
    • Use a variety of transition words, phrases, and clauses to convey sequence and signal shifts from one time frame or setting to another.
    • Use precise words and phrases, relevant descriptive details, and sensory language to capture the action and convey experiences and events.
    • Provide a conclusion that follows from and reflects on the narrated experiences or events.

National Standards

Discipline: Social Studies
Domain: All Thematic Standards
Cluster: Global Connections
Grade(s): Grades K–12
Standards:

Teachers should:

  • enable learners to explain how interactions among language, art, music, belief systems, and other cultural elements can facilitate global understanding or cause misunderstanding
  • help learners to explain conditions and motivations that contribute to conflict, cooperation, and interdependence among groups, societies, and nations
  • provide opportunities for learners to analyze and evaluate the effects of changing technologies on the global community
  • challenge learners to analyze the causes, consequences, and possible solutions to persistent, contemporary, and emerging global issues, such as health care, security, resource allocation, economic development, and environmental quality
  • guide learner analysis of the relationships and tensions between national sovereignty and global interests in such matters as territorial disputes, economic development, nuclear and other weapons deployment, use of natural resources, and human rights concerns
  • have learners analyze or formulate policy statements that demonstrate an understanding of concerns, standards, issues, and conflicts related to universal human rights
  • help learners to describe and evaluate the role of international and multinational organizations in the global arena
  • have learners illustrate how individual behaviors and decisions connect with global systems