Official Nebraska Government Website Nebraska State Historical Society

Nebraska Trailblazer
#14: The State Capitol
Suggested Activities

General Activities:

1. Use KWL charts (columns of "what do you know," "what do you want to learn," and "what have you learned") to direct the learning.

2. Pupils color the coloring page. Use Resource Sheet 1 for an overhead transparency or to make coloring page copies for your students.

3. Pupils illustrate what they would put on top of the capitol. They could also explain why they chose that symbol, keeping in mind that it needs to represent Nebraska.

4. Divide the class into three groups for each of the branches of the government. Each of the groups would explain their function or their duties through skits, reports, panel discussion, etc.

5. Make up a skit on the controversy of where to put the state capitol. See Resource Sheet 2 for period newspaper excerpts from the two opposing perspectives. Questions for the pupils to consider for this skit include:
a) What city did the Omaha paper advocate to be the capital city and why?
b) Why was Nebraska City endorsing the location of Lincoln City in Lancaster County?
c) What predictions were made about the future population of the capital city?
d) Compare the capital city debate to the debate in our current events: the location for a new prison in Nebraska.

6. Divide the class in half and designate groups as the North Platters and the South Platters. Debate the placement of the state capitol. Use blue paper or tape on the floor to physically divide the class.

7. Using Resource Sheet 3, paste sheets onto manila folders and cut on the solid lines. Fold and paste on the dotted lines to "build" the current state capitol.

8. Using popsicle sticks, egg cartons, and other recyclables, pupils build the three state capitols. Resource Sheets 4-6 show a photograph or architectural details of the first, second and third capitols.

Additional photos of the present capitol can be seen at

8. Pupils design a fourth, future capitol using available materials and explain its architectural design and features.

Map Activities:

1. Using a Nebraska state road map (call 1-800-228-4307 or 471-3796 in Lincoln to order maps), pupils find out how many miles it is to Nebraska's capital city from various towns in the state, i.e. the distance from Alliance to Lincoln is . . .

Research Activities:

1. Research the names of the capital cities in the other states.

Field Trips:

1. When you travel to Lincoln, be sure to visit . . .

The State Capitol. Walk around the exterior of the building to look at the county names and carved stone. Inside the capitol find the doors to the senate chamber that is not in use. Look for the eagle, otter, thunderbird, corn, pipe, and baby. Call 402-471-0449 to arrange a guided tour.

The Kennard House. See the Victorian period home of Nebraska's first secretary of state. This house was built to show confidence in the town of Lincoln when there were few people, trees, or houses in the city. Sixteenth and H Streets in Lincoln. Call 1-800-833-6747 or 471-4764 in Lincoln to arrange a guided tour.

The Nebraska History Museum. Schedule a guided tour of the exhibit Nebraska Joins the Union to see the objects that tell the story of Nebraska from the Louisiana Purchase to territorial status to statehood in 1867. Objects include a medal given to American Indians by Lewis and Clark, the first Constitution of the state of Nebraska and everything in between: objects telling the story of the fur trade, overland travel, the Civil War, homesteading, and town building. Call 1-800-833-6747 or 471-4754 in Lincoln for a tour.


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Last updated 6 January 1999

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