Pioneer Life: Sod Houses
These sites are about houses made from sod that many pioneers built and lived in during the 1800s. See photographs of past and reconstructed sod homes in Nebraska, Kansas, and the Dakotas. Read letters from people in which they talk about life in sod houses and watch a video tour of a home. Includes a few activities for making a sod house in the classroom. There are links to eThemes Resources on grasslands and pioneer life.
This unit contains four teaching activities. Use all of them or individually. Letters, photographs, and other artifacts are provided.
Building a Sod House
In this interactive lesson, children work to construct a sod house. Using the wrong choices will lead to a collapse.
German Immigrants: Their Contributions to the Upper Midwest
While this unit focuses on contributions of German immigrants, a section is devoted to Sod Houses. An explanation of how to use primary sources with students is given.
Children's Literature: Prairie Life
This site provides suggestions for fiction and nonfiction books about prairie life. Activities are given to accompany the book, "Dandelions" by Eve Bunting.
Inside a Sod House
This photo shows what it is like inside this sod house replica.
This is a photograph of a sod house in South Dakota that was still standing in 1986.
Northern Great Plains, 1880-1920
Information from the Library of Congress including photos of several sod buildings. Click the names of sod buildings at the top to see the photos.
Revealing History: Hidden in the Shadows
Photographs of families and their sod homes in Nebraska.
Living in a Sod House
Find out what it would have been like to live in a Nebraska sod house. Read the transcriptions to see what the people who lived in them thought of it. Click on "More" to read more about life on the prairie.
Building a Sod House
Photographs and information about how these houses were constructed. Click on the "Video" link at the bottom to watch movie about a late 1800s sod house that was still standing in 1960.
Plains Folks: Sod Houses and Social Structures
Read about this woman's memories of life in a sod house in North Dakota.
eThemes Resource: Pioneer Life: Food
These sites have information about the types of food the pioneers ate and how they prepared and preserved their meals. Includes recipes for johnnycakes, brown sugar candy, snow ice cream, and molasses cake. Also includes some recipes for Native American and early African American dishes. There are links to eThemes Resources on pioneer life and westward expansion.
eThemes Resource: Habitat: Grasslands
These sites have information about the different types of grassland habitats found throughout the world. Includes savannas, prairies, and steppes. Learn more about the climate and wildlife that are found in these ecosystems. There is also information about grasslands in Missouri. An eThemes Resource on habitats is included.
eThemes Resource: Westward Expansion: Hardships
These sites are about the various hardships the pioneers faced as they traveled to the West. Includes weather information, accidents, and diseases. Read personal narratives and stories.