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Nebraska Trailblazer

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See the letter sent to 4th Grade Coordinators ordering free issues for the school year. Orders should be placed between January 1 and March 1, of the current year.

See also the Nebraska Trailblazer Teacher's Guides, free on-line.

Nebraska Trailblazer Puzzle Answers and Solutions are available as a Webpage and also downloadable as 176k PDF.

1. "Native Americans" (450k PDF)
Brief history of Pawnee Scouts. Map shows location of Indian tribes in Nebraska in mid-l800s. Famous Native Americans from Nebraska, four types of homes, clothing, and everyday objects are illustrated. Coloring page is interior of round earthlodge. Activity is a crossword puzzle about Indian tribes.

2. "Explorers" (360k PDF)
Contains paragraphs about early explorers in Nebraska before and after the Louisiana Purchase. Two maps show their routes. Coloring page features six flags that have flown over Nebraska. Activity is word search containing names of twelve early explorers.

3. "Oregon Trail" (780k PDF)
Illustrations of Nebraska City, Mormon handcarts, Fort Kearny, Rock Creek Station, O'Fallon's Bluff, Chimney Rock, Courthouse Rock, Ash Hollow, Scotts Bluff, and Fort Laramie. A detailed drawing of campsite along the Platte River is the coloring page. Activity is an "Oregon Trail" maze.

4. "Nebraska's First Farmers" (384k PDF)
Traces farming from prehistoric times through the early 1900s. Illustrations show breaking sod, planting corn, and horse-drawn implements through tractor-drawn equipment of the 1920s. A map, divided into regions, shows Nebraska-grown crops about 1900. Coloring page is drawing of interior of 1900-era barn with items in use at that time; activity is crossword puzzle featuring farm implements.

5. "Settlers's Homes" (248k PDF)
Contrasts early settlers's sod and log houses with Arbor Lodge and our governor's mansion. Pictured are stone, brick, frame, and mud houses. A map depicts areas where logs, stone, and sod were available for building. Detailed drawing of sod house interior makes up coloring page. Word search features materials used in settlers' homes.

6. "Nebraska Territory" (524k PDF)
Maps are used to compare the territory's size in 1854 and in 1862 with the size of the state today. Other maps show where state line markers are found, where time zone boundary lines are located, and which Nebraska cities border the Missouri. Pictures include Nebraska-Kansas boundary marker near Rulo and the Nebraska-Wyoming-South Dakota corner marker north of Harrison in Sioux County. The combined coloring page activity asks students to draw the outline of their own county and to locate their home town on the map they have drawn.

7. "Early Settlers" (640k PDF)
Tells about people who settled in Nebraska from prehistoric times to the present. These include nomadic Indian hunters and other Indian immigrants, fur traders, missionaries, pioneers from eastern states, and immigrants from Europe. Pictures include immigrant trains and hotels. A graph shows where these immigrants came from. Coloring page shows immigrant families arriving in Nebraska. Activity is a map search where students locate towns named for foreign places.

8. "Ranching" (764k PDF)
The coming of the railroad enabled cattle ranching to begin in Nebraska. A map shows the four main trails on which cattle were driven to railroads in Nebraska. Pictures include ranches, cowboys, longhorn cattle and Herefords, rustlers, a chuck wagon, range wars, and rodeos. A drawing of a cowboy, his horse, clothes, and equipment are shown on the coloring page. How to read a brand is the featured activity in this issue.

9. "Fort Atkinson"  (600k PDF)
From 1820 to 1827 Fort Atkinson was the largest and strongest military post beyond Saint Louis. A map shows the fort's location, Long's expedition, and the early Santa Fe Trail. Pictures include Colonel Henry Atkinson and Major Stephen Long. Illustrations show steamboats on the Missouri, an Indian peace council, and fur trappers. The coloring page features the well-dressed soldier; drawings show a teacher and pupils, and laundresses at work. The activity is a word scramble about everyday life at the fort.

10. "Railroads"  (700k PDF)
The text includes information about the U.S. Government granting land to railroad companies, surveying and preparing a roadbed, and the completion of the transcontinental railroad in 1869. Pictures include the driving of the golden spike at Promontory, Utah. Maps show the number of railroads in Nebraska in 1915 compared to the 1980s. An illustration shows how a steam locomotive and a diesel engine work. A steam engine standing at a water tank is featured on the coloring page, and the activity is a word list of railroad terms to define.

11. "A Nebraska Childhood"  (968k PDF)
The text and pictures give an overview of childhood from pioneer times through the 1930s. Children's experiences are shown in several pictures including a family by their sod house. Pictured is the York Theater with a ten-cent double-feature. Also included are an old Orphan Annie comic strip, instructions for toys made out of cork, a Boy-Kraft magazine ad, and drawings of toys from the 1880s through the 1950s. The activity is a crossword puzzle with a fun-and-games theme.

12. "What's for Lunch? Food Choices of the 1890s"  (776k PDF)
The text tells about food preparation and preservation by Omaha and Sioux Indians, homesteaders, cowboys, soldiers, and European immigrants. Pictures include Indians drying beef and cooking over an open fire. Sod house pictures by photographer Solomon Butcher show a family group with a watermelon on the table (and a cow on the roof!); a second Butcher photo shows a young girl with her lunch pail ready to leave for school. Activities include a song to learn, "Punching the Dough," and instructions for making butter. The coloring page and accompanying text tell where a homesteader's dinner came from.

13. "Banking in Nebraska"  (748k PDF)
Nebraska's first bank opened in Omaha in 1855. The text tells about early banks in Omaha, Bellevue, Brownville, and Nebraska City, and about banking during the Great Depression. Pictured are early banks and money reprints.  A September 17, l930, Lincoln Star front page tells about a bank robbery in Lincoln. The coloring page shows the interior of an early bank. A match-up of banking terms and their definitions is featured on the activity page.

14. "The State Capitol" (728k PDF) "The State Capitol" (html)
The text tells about Nebraska's territorial and state capitol buildings. Pictures of the last of three territorial capitol buildings and of the three state capitols are shown. Also shown is the Kennard House, which still stands today near the current capitol. Three pictures show the capitol's building progress; others feature the interior of the capitol and information about state government. The coloring page shows the doors to the former senate chambers and the activity page is a quiz about our state capital/capitol.

15. "Nebraska State Symbols"  (1M PDF)
Features the state seal, created in 1867. In 1925, by legislative action, a state flag was created. In its center is the state seal, in silver and gold on a blue background. Other symbols shown are the meadowlark, honeybee, mammoth, goldenrod, and cottonwood tree. Other well-known places are also pictured. The coloring page features state birds and the word seek puzzle contains thirty-six words about Nebraska's symbols.

16. "Red Cloud And The Sioux Nation"  (628k PDF)
Red Cloud and the Oglala band of Sioux are featured in this issue. Maps show the location of the numerous Sioux bands. Pictures show various phases of Sioux life. Red Cloud's leadership, at the peak of the Lakotas' power, is described. A story from Red Cloud's life is told in pictures. The activity is a timeline quiz.

17. "Notable Nebraskans"  (700k PDF)
Contributions to Nebraska and the nation by well-known Nebraskans are described in this issue. Pictured, along with a short summary of their work, are Standing Bear, Buffalo Bill, Malcolm X, William Jennings Bryan, J. Sterling Morton, Grover Cleveland Alexander, Henry Fonda, and others. The coloring page features the home of George W. Norris at McCook and Willa Cather's home at Red Cloud. The activity is a crossword puzzle which gives clues about notable Nebraskans.

18. "Aviation in Nebraska"  (892k PDF)
Nebraskans were involved in early flying ventures. Among those featured are the Savidges from Ewing and Evelyn Sharp from Ord. Pictured are Charles Lindbergh and his plane, the Spirit of St. Louis. Lindbergh was enrolled in Raymond Page's aviation school in Lincoln. Various phases of flying from balloons to military bases in Nebraska during World War II are included in the text. Also pictured is a pattern for building a war plane. The activity shows how to make a paper glider and the coloring page features an Arrow Sport airplane manufactured by Arrow Aircraft of Lincoln.

19. "Agribusiness"
The text covers some of the changes in agribusiness during the twentieth century. Pictured are a fertilizer plant, incubator, distillery, flour mill, stockyards, sugar beet harvesting, coop creamery, silos, tractors, and the College of Agriculture as they appeared in the past. Also pictured are combines, pivot irrigation, and a mounted sprayer. The coloring page shows a farmer's desk with a computer and other equipment needed in today's agribusiness. The activity page contains information and a quiz about corn.

20. "Town Builders"
Transportation by river or railroad and available natural resources largely determined the location of towns in early Nebraska. Towns were also built up around forts, road ranches, county seats, and industrial sites. Early views of Nebraska towns, including Center, Hebron, Gibbon, Kearney, Sidney, Nebraska City, and Lincoln are pictured. The coloring page features a small city's Fourth of July celebration about 1905. The activity is a quiz about the names of Nebraska towns. For this activity you will need a Nebraska road map.

21. "World War II"
December 7, 1941, brought the United States and Nebraska into World War II. Nebraskans made significant contributions to the war effort on the home front and the battlefield. This issue includes photographs of Nebraska soldiers, women workers, and patriotic activities. The activity page tells how the student can carry out an oral history interview of someone who lived through the war years.

22. "Nebraska and the Presidents"
Key decisions by the presidents of the United States have affected the outcome of our state's history. This issue traces those leaders from Jefferson, who acquired the Louisiana Purchase that included present-day Nebraska, to Lincoln, our capital's namesake, to Ford, the only president born on our native soil. The coloring page is the presidential seal.

23. "Spain on the Plains"
Spain expanded out of Mexico into the Plains beginning with Coronado's expedition in 1541. The Pueblo revolt was followed by the Spanish acquisition of the territory west of the Mississippi River in 1763. Other topics covered are the American purchase of the area, the fur traders who changed citizenship after the purchase, the Mexican Revolution, the Santa Fe trails, and the Mexican-American war.

24. "Czechs in Nebraska"
Czechs were one of the nationalities that emigrated to the United States of America in the late 1800s and early 1900s. By 1910 fourteen percent of Nebraska's foreign-born residents were Czech, the largest percentage of any state. Learn why they left the Old Country and how they adapted to their new home in Nebraska. Czech customs, agriculture, associations, food, education, and occupations are topics of this issue. The coloring page shows costumes of a Czech boy and girl. Photos, maps, a land advertisement, illustrations, and a quiz are included.

25. "The Atomic Age in Nebraska"
The years after the end of World War II were characterized by great social and technological change, overshadowed by the start of the arms race. The text, photos, and documents shown in this issue highlight some aspects of life in Nebraska during the Atomic Age, from civil defense efforts ("duck-and-cover" drills, fallout shelters) to the innovations of modern life (like television, convenience foods, rock n' roll, polio inoculations, and nuclear power).

26. "William Jennings Bryan"
William Jennings Bryan was the only Nebraska resident ever nominated for President of the United States. He was the candidate of the Democratic Party in 1896, 1900, and 1908, but he lost each time. Even though Bryan never became president, he was one of the most important political leaders in American history. He helped bring about several changes in government. Pictures show Bryan, his two homes in Lincoln, and campaign material. The coloring page features "Fairview," Bryan's house built on a farm just outside Lincoln. The activity is a crossword puzzle of Bryan brain teasers.

27. "Nebraska Archeology"
Archeology is the collection and study of items, or "artifacts" used or made by humans, whether arrowheads or old pots, the ruins of structures or modern garbage in landfills. Archeological studies in Nebraska have shed light on how people adapted to survive on the Plains during the past 10,000 years. Students will learn how archeologists find sites as well as what techniques and tools are used to excavate and document a site. Activities include questions pertaining to a cross-section diagram with several layers or strata and associated artifacts as well as a word search featuring key terms. Increasingly disturbed or destroyed by urban and rural development, agriculture or vandalism, archeological sites are a threatened non-renewable resource. Issues such as preservation and site protection are emphasized.

28. "African American Homesteaders and Soldiers in Nebraska"
Features photos and memories of African American homesteaders, Buffalo Soldier photos, and the story of a Tenth U. S. Cavalry soldier at Fort Robinson. Buffalo Soldier and homestead histories, including social life and freetime topics. Drawings for coloring include an illustration of homesteaders' children attending school and a Buffalo Soldier's medals. A map of Nebraska illustrates the locations of Brownlee and Fort Robinson. A time line of related history events is also included. The activity is a word puzzle featuring new vocabulary.

29. "Mexican Americans in Nebraska"
Tells about Mexican American immigration to Nebraska from the turn of the nineteenth century to today. Explains cultural (food, music, dance, and craft) and religious traditions common in Mexican American families and communities. Includes a short history of Mexico prior to the Revolution. The coloring page includes illustrations of Mexican food items, and crafts. Activities include the lyrics and chords to las mañanitas, (the traditional Mexican birthday song), and a crossword puzzle with a music and dance.

30. The Kansas-Nebraska Act
Reviews the origins of the May 30, 1854, act creating the territories of Nebraska and Kansas and its relationship to the debate over slavery before the Civil War. This Nebraska Trailblazer also discusses slavery in Nebraska Territory, notes early governors, counties, and the capitol building, and shows how the land area of Nebraska Territory changed between 1854 and 1867.
        (If you order this issue, you may also want to order No. 6, "Nebraska Territory".)

31. Conservation and Preservation  (2.4M PDF)
Conservation and preservation describe work done to save special things, like documents and paintings that are rare, old, or valuable, so they will survive into the future. Students can learn more about this challenging career.

32. Nebraska's State Quarter  (1M PDF)
The Nebraska State Quarter features Chimney Rock as a symbol of the state. Learn more about this important landmark, as well as the other design finalists, the State Capitol, The Sower, and Standing Bear. Have students explore other ways that we identify ourselves as Nebraskans.

33. Governor's Residence
A brief history of the places where Nebraska governors have lived since 1854, with photographs showing the two official residences provided by the state. In 1899 the state bought a private home where governors lived until 1956. Between 1956 and 1958, the state built a new Governor's Residence, which is still used today. The nearby Kennard House, home of Nebraska's first secretary of state, is featured on the coloring page. The activity is a word search about the history of the governor's residences.


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