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Nebraska Trailblazer
#5: Settlers Homes
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. After the pupils have read about sod houses in the Nebraska Trailblazer and colored the coloring page, the pupils to write a story about what it would be like to live in a one-room sod house. Use Resource Sheet 1 for an overhead transparency or to make coloring page copies for your students.

3. Pupils illustrate what their house would look like if it were a one-room house.

4. Brainstorm a list of different materials used to build houses today. Bring examples of these materials into the classroom for a hands-on experience.

5. In a class discussion, talk about why trees were located only in certain areas.

6. Plant a tree as a class and talk about all of the ways we use trees.

7. Pupils build "future" homes with recyclables and explain the reasoning behind the materials and design they chose.

Map Activities:

1. Using Resource Sheet 2 (map of Nebraska with rivers) color the different areas to show where building resources were available in Nebraska. Pupils could also illustrate the other resource locations mentioned such as logs on the Missouri river and the brickyard at Fort Atkinson.

Research Activities:

1. Using the pioneer reminiscences in Resource Sheet 3 as a starting point, pupils could choose one of the styles of houses, write a report, and illustrate to share with the class.

2. Creative projects would be another good use of these reminiscences. Some of the reminiscences have enough detail that pupils could create a drawing based on the description. Other reminiscences would provide a good starting point for a story about what life was like in a settler's home.

3. Invite a local architect to talk about early buildings in the area or famous architecture or architects of the area. Based on this introduction, pupils research and illustrate a poster to share their findings with the school.

Field Trips:

Arbor Lodge - Call 402-873-7222 for tour information.
Sod Houses
William R. Dowse Sod House
The house is located 4-1/2 mi. SW of Comstock.
c/o Custer County Historical Society

Waterman Sod House
The house is located north of Big Springs.
c/o Deuel County Historical Society
Chappell, NE

Governor's Mansion - Call 402-471-3466 for tour information.
Contact historic homes near you for tour information.
Ask your local museum, county historical society, or a local architect to take your class on a walking, architectural tour of your school's neighborhood.


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Last updated 5 January 1999

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