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        North Dakota | Activity 5.1: Homesteaders - Single Women of North Dakota

        Students watch a video about homesteading in North Dakota and the single women who applied for the land. Students learn the definition of homesteading and the unique challenges single women homesteaders faced.

        Lesson Summary

        Students watch a video about homesteading in North Dakota and the single women who applied for the land. Students learn the definition of homesteading and the unique challenges single women homesteaders faced.

        This lesson is part of "Great States: North Dakota | Unit 5: Settling North Dakota" - a study of how and why North Dakota attracted diverse settlement.

        Time Allotment

        15 minutes

        Learning Objectives

        Standards: 

        4.2.9: Explain reasons for settlement in North Dakota (e.g., railroads, Bonanza farms, Homestead Act).

        Supplies

        • Video: Single Women Homesteaders

        • An interactive whiteboard, projector, or other type of screen to project videos to the class

        • Notebooks or loose-leaf paper
        • Blackboard or chalkboard

        Directions

        1. Tell students they will be watching a short video about women homesteaders in North Dakota. Explain that the Homestead Act of 1862 guaranteed land to heads of household who would move out to North Dakota to maintain the land for five years. Heads of household were usually men, but single, widowed, or divorced women were also eligible to apply for the land grants.

        1. Instruct students to take notes on the video, focusing on the challenges single women homesteaders faced.

        1. Play the video, Single Women Homesteaders [to 2:38].

        1. Have students create a list of adjectives used to describe how women homesteaders felt about settling. Write their adjectives on the board.

        1. Ask students: what were some reasons women chose to homestead?

        1. Ask students to consider what it would be like to travel far away, on their own, to settle in a new place on land they would own by considering the following:

          1. What would they hope to find in the new place?

          2. What would they do with their land?

        1. Have students share ideas in class and notice the similarities (or differences) between responses.

        Answer Key

        1. Sample adjectives: excited, happy, adventurous, determined, brave, and curious. The woman in the video writes that she was proud to have land and felt it was beautiful, “fine and dandy.”
        2. Women settled for some of the same reasons as men, including being curious, for adventure, and for financial gain.

        3. Answers will vary, but may include:

          1. A beautiful place, good weather, jobs, nice people.
          2. Might use the land to build a house, grow food, raise a family, play, relax, or start a business.

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