Students review primary and secondary sources to understand why traders, homesteaders, and Scandinavian immigrants settled in Minnesota. Students write a newspaper article (or Internet blog) answering the question.
This lesson is part of "Great States: Minnesota | National History Day in Minnesota," an extended unit in which students use primary and secondary sources to present information.
188.8.131.52.1: Pose questions about a topic in Minnesota history, gather a variety of primary and secondary sources related to questions, analyze sources for credibility, identify possible answers, use evidence to draw conclusions, and present supported findings.
184.108.40.206.1: Describe how and why the United States claimed and settled the upper Mississippi River region in the early nineteenth century; explain the impact of steamboat transportation and settlement on the physical, social and cultural landscapes.
An interactive whiteboard, projector, or another type of screen to show videos to the class
Notebooks or loose-leaf paper
- Explain to students they will be watching videos about homesteading and why people settled in Minnesota. Suggest that they take notes as they watch, because after the videos, they will be writing a two-paragraph news article/Internet blog answering the question, “What attracted traders, homesteaders, and Scandinavian immigrants to Minnesota?” Students should take into consideration geographic, economic, cultural, and government perspectives as well as how these sources inform our history.
- Play the Homesteading videos, Homesteading | Homestead Act and the Northern Plains [5:02] and Homesteading – George and Barbara [2:56].
- Before showing the video, Homesteading – Boosterism and Immigrants [4:04], tell students that boosterism means the excessive promotion of something, in this case, moving or transporting to Minnesota.
- Give students 15 minutes to write their news article (or Internet blog) answering the question, “What attracted traders, homesteaders, and Scandinavian immigrants to Minnesota?”
Answer Key – Important Points to Look For in Student Work
- New opportunity, new life
- Land ownership
- Economic independence
- Homestead Acts: Free/cheap land given by the government
- Vast, fertile land
- Build a farm
- Advertisements/deals on travel
- Leaving behind worse lives…war-torn, less opportunity