Pioneer Life: Settling on the Homestead
These sites are about daily life on the frontier. Learn about frontier towns and the chores and games that the pioneers participated in. Read the original Homestead Act that prompted many people to move West. Includes videos and historical photographs. There are links to eThemes Resources on pioneer food, sod houses, and hardships along the Oregon Trail.
National Archives: Teaching with Documents: The Homestead Act of 1862
Use a homesteader's documents to learn about the Homestead Act of 1862.
Westward Expansion: Homestead Act
This student-created website includes information about the Homestead Act. See the sidebar for related topics and people.
WebQuest: To Move or Not to Move: The Homestead Act of 1862
This WebQuest includes three learning tasks, online resources, a rubric for grading, and state standards.
NPR: Homestead Act Sewed its Way Into U.S. Fabric
Listen to a podcast about the Homestead Act, the people who settled the American West, and how they changed the nation. NOTE: This site includes ads and sponsored links.
PBS: Frontier Life: Homestead History
Click on "Take a Journey" to make a virtual visit to Montana in the late 1880s.
Scroll down for essays about life on the homestead. The reading level may be too difficult for students, but the information is useful to teachers.
PBS: Frontier House: Video Diaries
Watch these video diaries to see how modern families struggled to live like pioneers. Find out what resources they had to use.
PBS: Frontier House: Evaluations
Read what the experts have to say about whether these modern families would have survived on the frontier. What mistakes did they make, and what would you have done differently? Click on "Clune" and "Glenn" to read more.
Nebraska Studies: Homestead Act: The Challenges of Living on the Plains
Explore the links on the left to learn how the settlers found water, built shelter, and battled with harsh weather. Includes many historical photographs.
Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum: Pioneer Town Activity
This page has printable templates for creating your own pioneer town.
Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum: Nine Patch Quilt Activity
Pioneers often made quilts, and this page has a printable document that students can use to decorate their own quilt.
PBS: Sun River Homestead
Read about three sisters who traveled West to become teachers. Click on "Next" to advance through the site.
PBS: New Perspectives on the West: The Homestead Act
Read the text from the Homestead Act of 1862 that prompted many people to move West.
Utah.gov: Utah History To Go: Pioneer Girls
Read interesting notes about the lives of six pioneer girls in Utah.
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: 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.
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.
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