All Subjects
      All Types

        Info

        Grades

        3-5,13+

        Permitted Use


        Part of Great States
        0 Favorites
        22 Views

        Iowa | Activity 3.2: Land Speculation - Finding Success in the West

        Students watch a set of videos about the people who settled in Iowa during the 1800s. They learn the reasons that people were drawn to Iowa during the 1800s, particularly the draws of the railroads, coal mining, and the Homestead Act of 1862. They then compare the experiences of coal miners to homesteaders, and answer questions about the character traits of homesteaders.

        Lesson Summary

        Students watch a set of videos about the people who settled in Iowa during the 1800s. They learn the reasons that people were drawn to Iowa during the 1800s, particularly the draws of the railroads, coal mining, and the Homestead Act of 1862. They then compare the experiences of coal miners to homesteaders, and answer questions about the character traits of homesteaders.

        This lesson is part of "Great States: Iowa | Unit 3: Explorers and Settlers." In this unit, students will learn about the various incentives and events that drew European explorers and early settlers to the American West.

        Time Allotment

        20 minutes

        Learning Objectives

        Standard: 

        CG.SS.4.8: Evaluate how core civic virtues and democratic principles have guided or do guide governments, societies, and/or communities. (21st century skills) 

        SS.5.5: With teacher direction, construct responses to compelling questions supported by reasoning and evidence.

        G.SS.5.20: Analyze how rules and laws encourage or restrict human population movements to and within the United States of America.

        Supplies

        Directions

        1. Ask students if they know how, when, and why their families came to Iowa. Have students share answers with partners and then allow a few students to share with the whole class.

        1. Next, indicate that the reasons people settled in Iowa changed over time. The lesson today will seek to answer the questions:

          1. Why did people move to and settle in Iowa?

          2. How did the reasons for moving to Iowa change over time?

        1. Play the video, Why Move to Iowa | Iowa Pathways [0:36], which will list some of the reasons pioneers came to Iowa in the late 1700s and early 1800s. Ask students to write down reasons why people in the Eastern United States moved west during this time as they watch the video.

        1. Explain that most pioneers traveled with their families, some traveling in caravans. They brought their supplies in wagons, some pulled by horse, others by oxen. Only a few thousand families made this journey west at first, but the discovery of coal in 1835 brought more attention to Iowa.

        1. Explain that in the 1850s, ten percent of all land in Iowa was given to the railroads. Do students think this helped or hurt the coal industry? Why? [Help—in the transport of coal to more distant markets.] When the coal ran out, what do they think happened to the towns that had grown around the coal mines?

        1. Play the video, Coal Mining Towns | Iowa Pathways [1:43] about the people who came to mine coal in Iowa.

        1. Remind students that the video said “railroad fever” caused coal to be an important industry in the state. Ask students, “What groups of immigrants found familiar work in coal?” [English, Scottish, Welsh]

        1. Distribute the Finding Success in the West handout to students.

        1. Explain to students that the passage of the Homestead Act of 1862 brought even more settlers to Iowa. Nearly 9,000 homesteads in Iowa were recorded by the federal government as a result of the Homestead Act.

        1. Tell students they will be watching a video that details many of the challenges early homesteaders faced in the western prairies and Great Plains. Explain that homesteaders in Iowa generally found more success than their western counterparts. Iowan homesteaders, compared to some of the settlers depicted in the video, had better access to timber and water that were essential for farming, fuel, and building homes. In what ways do they think experiences differed for those who came to homestead and those who came to mine coal? [Miners lived in towns and found initial success, but the coal industry collapsed; homesteaders faced many challenges getting started and they lived more remotely. Some prospered]. Instruct students to take notes of the personality characteristics of the homesteaders, especially women, in the video.

        1. Play the video, Homesteading – Danger, Disaster, Difficulty. [2:47]

        1. Have students answer questions found on the handout.

        Answer Key:

        1. Medical emergencies, lack of social support, lack of religious connection, general inconveniences, other homesteaders [0:12 and throughout]

        2. Answers will vary, but can include: determination, perseverance (stick to it), independence, optimism

        3. Answers will vary, but can include: escape from debt and responsibility, rough character needed to survive, a place to start over [throughout]

        Contributor:
        Producer:

        You must be logged in to use this feature

        Need an account?
        Register Now