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Prairie School Unit and Lapbook

Prairie School

 

Author:  Avi

Illustrator:  Bill Farnsworth

ISBN: 0-06-051318-7
Summary:
Nine-year-old Noah loves living on the Colorado prairie in the 1880s where he helps his parents with all of the work. When Aunt Dora comes from the East to teach him how to read, he sees no need to do so and refuses to cooperate with her. However, his aunt refuses to give up. She asks Noah to show her the land even though he warns her that her wheelchair may make it difficult to get around. As he wheels her along, she consults the book in her lap and begins to tell him about the natural things around them. Impressed by her knowledge, the child decides to learn to read and write, and realizes that his aunt has opened a world beyond the prairies to him.

Unit and Notebooking Pages by Rose Ann Kuhns

 


Notebooking Pages

Maine & Colorado Notebook Page
Lark Notebook Page
Snakes Notebook Page
Horses Notebook Page

New Words Pages
Simile Notebook Page
Chores Venn Diagram
Compare Car/Wagon
Train Notebook Page

Compare Schools Notebook Page

Days of the Week Notebook Page

On the Prairie Notebook Page
Prairie Living Notebook Page

Paralysis Notebook Page with prompts
Paralysis Notebook Page without prompts
Dog Tooth Violet Notebook Page
Letter Notebooking Pages

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow Notebooking Page
A Psalm of Life Poem

Stars Notebooking Page
 


Chapter 1
 

Social Studies

 

Geography:

They moved from Maine to Colorado. Colorado joined the USA on Aug. 1,1876. This story takes place in 1880, so Colorado was about “4 years old”. How far is it from Maine to Colorado?   Have your child research a little more about each of the states and compare them.

Maine & Colorado Notebook Page

 

Character/Attitude:

Discuss Noah’s attitude about schooling. Is it right, good? Why do you think he felt that way? His parents didn’t because they asked Aunt Dora to come. Continue to notice Noah’s attitude towards schooling as you go through the book. Some Bible verses about wisdom are: Prov. 1:7 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction. Prov. 3:13 Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding. Prov. 16:16 How much better is it to get wisdom than gold! And to get understanding rather to be chosen than silver.

 

Science


Horses:
There are 3 general types of  horses: light horses, heavy horses and ponies. Each of the types of horse then have several breeds and sometimes the breeds are in two different types of horse like There are Hackneys which are in the pony type as well as the heavy type. Some of the common breeds are: American Saddle Horse, the Arabian, the Morgan, Standard Bred. These are in the light type. Some heavy types are : Clydesdale, Belgians and Percherons. Pony types are: Shetland, Hackney, and Welsh.


Horse range in size from 300 pounds up to 2,400 pounds. Horses are measured in hands ( a hand equals 4 inches the average width of a man’s hand).  Most horses are about 15-16 hands. Some if the heavy horses can be up to 20 hands tall. Ponies are smaller than 14 hands.


Horses come in different colors: gray, brown, black and chestnut. And also a mixture of these colors. Horses with mixed colors have special names like paint or pinto. Palominos or appaloosas. There are even occasionally albino horse which are white, because of heredity they have no color in it hair, skin or eyes. All albinos have some color their offspring inherits. They have pink skin, ivory coat and blue eyes or pink skin, white coat and brown eyes.
 

A horse needs to be cared for. It needs food, grooming, shoes and training. Horse eat grass, grain and hay. Most horses can drink 10 -12 gallons of water a day. It should be fresh, clean and cool. Horse also need salt for good health. It is usually kept in the stable in a solid block where the horse can lick it as needed. Horse also need grooming, which is combing their mane and tail to clean out straw and other debris, Brushing their coats remove dandruff and dirt. A pick cleans stones or other dirt out of their hooves. A horse also needs shoes to protect its feet when walking and running on hard surfaces. Training a horse requires skill and patience. Horses learn best by reward and punishment. Good trainers reward a horse right away for obeying and  punish a horse for disobeying commands.

    

To ride a horse some equipment is needed. Tack is what horse riding gear is called. It includes the bridle, saddle, spurs or whip. A horse rider also needs  to wear suitable comfortable clothes. Their clothes should protect their legs as they are riding. The saddle is what you sit on; although some people do ride bare back. The bridle is what controls the horse. It has straps and metal pieces that fit on the horse head and in its mouth.

 

Snakes:

Snakes are reptiles and are carnivorous- meaning they eat meat- birds, eggs, fish, mice and even other snakes. Snakes do not have teeth so they must swallow their prey whole. Snakes are covered with scales and their skin is dry and cool. Snakes also shed their skin about once or twice a year. But the young growing snakes shed their skins more often up to four times. Snakes do not have the best eyesight; they use their sense of smell to locate their prey. Their forked tongue helps them smell better which is why they often flick their tongues. Snakes body temperature changes with the outside temperature. Their body temperature needs to be between 68-95 degrees F to be active. If it goes below 39 degrees F. or above 104 degrees F. the snakes will die. Snakes lay eggs about 6- 30 at a time and then most snakes leave the eggs to hatch on their own. There are poisonous and non-poisonous snakes. It is good to know if you have snakes around your place what kind they are and to know if they’re poisonous or not. What kind of snakes live in Colorado? Two I found are the Prairie Rattlesnake and  Plains Garter Snake.

 

Lark:

There are only two larks I found in North America, the Horned Lark and the Meadow Lark.. I am assuming this is a meadow lark because of where they live. The Meadow Lark is not a true lark they belong to the same family as black birds and orioles. The Meadow Lark lives in grassy fields, meadows and marshes. The meadow lark has a clear tuneful song. It is one of the first songs to be heard in the spring. The meadow lark builds its nest on the ground; it makes a roof of grass so the white speckled with reddish brown eggs are not so easily seen. It lays 3-7 eggs. The meadow lark eats waste grain and harmful insects.

Lark Notebook Page
Snakes Notebook Page
Horses Notebook Page

 

Language Arts

 

Vocabulary/New words:  
Keep a list of new words/phrases and define them. Here are a few of the possibilities

Rolling prairie

Sod House

Hearth fire

Stormed out

New Words Pages (print more if needed)

 

Simile:

A simile when you compare two things using the words like or as. An example is "free as a lark." Look for more as you read through the book. List them on your notebook page.

Simile Notebook Page

 

List making:
Make a list of Noah’s chores. Compare them with your chores. How are they different? Are any the same?

Chores Venn Diagram

 


Chapter 2:

 

Social Studies:
 

Travel:

Notice how they traveled. They drove a horse and wagon to the train station. In my research I found a horse pulling a wagon can go about 5 -10 miles per hour. How long would it take to drive the 25 miles to the train station if the horse goes 5 mph? 10 mph? Compare that with your car how long would it take today to go 25 miles?

Compare Car/Wagon

 

Trains:

A steam locomotive is pictured in the book. Do some research on trains and railroads.

A locomotive is the machine that moves trains on the railroad. There are 3 types of locomotives: steam, diesel, and electric. Steam locomotives run by burning coal or fuel oil in a firebox. The heat turns the water into steam which goes through cylinders to make all the other parts of the engine work.. Steam locomotives take  a lot of fuel to make them run and they do not have as much power as the other types of locomotives. In 1895 the first electric locomotives were starting to be used.  In 1925 the first diesel locomotives were starting to be used. Now most steam locomotives are used for tourist train rides. In a train there are several kinds of cars: passenger, baggage, freight, dining, and sleeping cars. The cars are connected by couplers and also have air brakes which is connected to the master control in the locomotive.

Train Notebook Page

 

Science:


Paralysis

Paralysis is when you have lost the ability to move and to feel. It can be complete or partial. Complete paralysis affects from your neck down while partial is usually just the legs. Paralysis is caused by injuries to the brain or spinal cord. When the spinal cord is injured the nerves below the point of injury are affected and cannot move or feel.

Joni Erikson Tada is paralyzed from her neck down from a diving accident when she was a teenager. You could research more about her.

Paralysis Notebook Page with prompts

Paralysis Notebook Page without prompts

 

Language Arts

Continue to add to your New Words page.
 


Chapter 3

Social Studies

Human Relationships
Notice again Noah’s attitude about learning. Are his “reasons” for leaving Aunt Dora really reasons or excuses? Sometimes in life we have to do things we don’t want or like to do.  Discuss making excuses with your student and why this is a practice to avoid.

 

Problem Solving:

As you read through the chapter, Aunt Dora has quite a problem with teaching Noah. How does she solve her problem?  Can you think of other creative solutions for this problem?

 

Time Era Differences:

Compare Noah’s school and your school. How are they similar? How are they different?

Compare Schools Notebook Page

 

Language Arts


Similes
Keep learning about similes.  Add one to your notebooking page: stubborn as a downward mule on an uphill road.

New Words
Continue to add to your new words page.  Some suggestions: fidgeted, nope

 

Applied Math

Days of the Week
Review the days of the  week.  Which is the first, second, etc?

Days of the Week Notebook Page

  

Science


Prairie Dogs
Learn more about Prairie Dogs with this animal study and lapbook from HSS.

 


Chapter 4

 

Social Studies

 

Prairie Living:

A good go along book is One Day in the Prairie by Jean Craighead George.
 

A prairie is a flat or hilly land covered with grasses. The first pioneers called them a “sea of grass”. The North American Prairie covers from central Texas to southern Saskatchewan and Manitoba, Canada. Prairies usually have hot summers and cold winters and some rainfall. The soil is usually dark and fertile because of the decaying grasses and the rooting roots hold the soil together. There are different kinds of grasses that grow on the prairie, some are Big Bluestem, Indian Grass, switch grass and wild rye grass. The grass can grow up to 6 feet tall although most only grow to about 2 feet tall. There are wild flowers that also grow on the prairie. Many belong to the composite or legume family. Some composite flowers are: asters, sunflowers coneflowers and goldenrods. Legumes are clover and wild indigos. There are also some woody shrubs like the prairie rose and cattails. Lots of animals feed on the leaves roots and seeds of the prairie plants. Some animals that live in the prairie are Jack rabbits, mice, prairie dogs, meadow larks, grouse, and  blackbirds. Coyotes, foxes and skunks survive by eating the smaller animals of the prairie.

On the Prairie Notebook Page (write a description of a prairie in the box)
Prairie Living Notebook Page

 

Character/Attitude:

How is Noah’s attitude changing? As Noah is showing Aunt Dora his prairie they see different things. Aunt Dora asks What are they and Noah doesn’t know. So she looks in her book and finds the answers. What kind of book might Aunt Dora had? Probably some sort of encyclopedia. Show your child how to use an encyclopedia, dictionary  or other reference books. I plan to have our child use the encyclopedia to research for the info to fill out the note book pages

 

Science:

Dog tooth Violet- It is not a violet but is in the lily family and is sometimes called a trout lily. It breaks through the ground early in the  spring. Two smooth greenish gray leaves which are pointed come from a bulb.  The  flowers are bell shaped and are yellow, white or pink. It also ahs a faint fragrance. It is misnamed because it does not look like a dog’s tooth at all.

Dog Tooth Violet Notebook Page

 

Language Arts:

 

New Words:
Puzzled

 

Simile:
“The chair jumped and rolled like a bucking horse.”

 


Chapter 5:

 

Social Studies
 

Attitude/Character:

What is happening to Noah’s attitude in this chapter?

 

Science:

A star is a large ball of glowing gases. The gases are hydrogen and helium. Our sun is actually a star but it is the only star close enough to the earth to look like a ball instead of pinpoints of light twinkling in the night sky. Stars differ in color  and brightness, some are yellow, or have a reddish glow or bluish gleam. Stars seem to move across the sky at night but the movement actually comes from the earth‘s rotation not because the stars are moving. Constellations are star pictures. Long ago someone imagined seeing pictures with the stars grouped together and named them. Some well known ones are the Big and Little Dipper, Orion the Hunter and the Great Bear.
 

Here are some books to go along with stars:

Stars (A True Book) by Paul P. Sipiera

Stars by Seymour Simon

Stars Notebooking Page

 


Chapter 6:

 

Social Studies
 

Attitude/Character:

Look at Noah’s attitude in this chapter. He has decided to learn to read. He had determination; he continued to study even when his hand and head ached. Discuss something that your student has to work hard at. Why should they keep trying?

 

Language Arts:
 

New Words:

Primer

Slate

 

Art:

Make an Alphabet Primer.
Page 30 has a drawing of a page from a primer to use as an idea. You can use tan parchment paper so it looks old. Have your student illustrate each letter of the alphabet and write words to go with the picture.  If your student has a younger sibling, maybe she can make this as a gift for that sibling.

 


Chapter 7:

 

Social Studies
 

Character Studies- Perseverance

Noah has accomplished his goal and learned to read. Discuss the importance of finishing your job and doing it well.

 

Language Arts:
 

New Words:

Wander

Gaze

 

Poetry/Poet Study
The poem Noah read A Psalm of Life was written by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. He also wrote Paul Revere’s Ride. He was the most famous and poplar American poet  in the 1800’s. He was born February 27, 1807 in Portland Maine. Longfellow published his first poem when he was 13 and went to Bowdoin College when he was 15. Nathaniel Hawthorne ,who became a famous writer, was a classmate of Longfellow.  Longfellow loved learning and was the top student at school. He was asked to be a teacher after his graduation, but he decided to travel in Europe. After three years of traveling he went back to the college to teach. He also taught at Harvard several years later. Long fellow married Mary Potter in 1831 and in 1835 she died while they were traveling. Longfellow continued to travel in hopes of overcoming his grief and in 1836 he was in Switzerland and met Frances Appleton from Boston. He fell in love with her but she did not agree to marry him till 1843.  They had 6 children together. The mansion which is now called Longfellow House, where they lived in Cambridge, Massachusetts become a national historic site in 1972. Longfellow died March 24, 1882 from an illness called peritonitis.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow Notebooking Page
A Psalm of Life Poem

 


Chapter 8:

 

Language Arts:


Friendly Letter Writing
Review the parts of a friendly letter and how to address an envelope. Have your student write a letter to an aunt or other family member.

There are five main parts to a friendly letter.
1.  Heading
The heading gives the date that the letter was written as well as the complete address of the person who is writing the letter.
2.  Greeting
The greeting tells to whom the letter is written.  The most common greeting is "Dear __________".   It is considered impolite to use only the person's name as a greeting. 
3.  Body
The body is the letter itself.
4.  Closing
The closing is a polite way to say goodbye.  (Sincerely, Sincerely Yours, etc.)
5.  Signature
The signature is the name of the writer. 


Letter Notebooking Pages