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and the Homestead Act: Creating a
Grade: 8th Grade
Throughout this lesson, students will learn about the Homestead Act of 1862 and its relation to women in the West. A portion of the lesson will be spent on examining primary sources and their impact on history. Students will create a modern day business propaganda pamphlet.
From the National Standards for History available
Prep For Teachers
Ask your students to log on to the Archives of
the West web site at http://www.pbs.org/weta/thewest/resources/archives/five/homestd.htm.
Provide your students with a FOCUS FOR MEDIA INTERACTION, asking
them if single women could homestead.
Have your students to log on to the Jeanette Rankin biography web site at http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/USArankin.htm. Provide your students with a FOCUS FOR MEDIA INTERACTION, asking them to identify the connection between Rankin and Montana's suffragist movement.
Have your students log on to Sun River Homestead web site at http://www.sunriverhomestead.org. Provide your students with a FOCUS FOR MEDIA INTERACTION, asking them to identify what they consider a common characteristic between the Strasburger sisters. Clarify again, that single white women were able to homestead. Explain that women were allowed to homestead and the history of women homesteaders.
Have students write an entry from a single white women homesteader's perspective in their journal. She may be writing to a friend or a family member. Students should note some obstacles that she may be faced with, as well as some of the rewards she may feel from leading a seemingly independent lifestyle.
Describe to your students that there was a great expansion movement after the Civil War. This was due in part to another wave of immigration along with the passage of the Homestead Act of 1862 and the Railroad Act of 1862. Tell your students that they will now watch a video of a story of such a single white woman's and her sister's immigration and homestead in the Montana.
Insert Sun River Homestead, into your VCR. Start the video on the black and white photograph of a large family. Provide your students with a FOCUS FOR MEDIA INTERACTION, asking them what are the major generation changes between Esther Strasburger and her great granddaughter, Rebecca Lee. PAUSE the screen when Rebecca Lee finishes her barrel race, (4:40). Discuss the focus question.
Provide the students with a FOCUS FOR MEDIA INTERACTION, asking them to reflect on women and education at the turn of the century. PLAY the video from where you last paused the tape until you reach a black and white photograph of Esther's classmates at Cheney State College, (6:45).
Discuss the focus question. (All six graduating seniors in Esther's class were women. Three quarters of the 500 students at Cheney were women). Provide more information of women and their dedication to education at that time. What options were readily open to women at this time? Ask the students their impressions. So far, what are they most/least surprised by? Why are they surprised?
Ask the students what their image of propaganda is. Have them identify potentially negative and positive propaganda. Provide the students with a FOCUS FOR MEDIA INTERACTION, asking them to identify various forms of propaganda in the next segment. PAUSE the video on the article titled, "Women are Going to Homestead." Have students identify propaganda in that segment. Check for understanding of the requirements for women and homesteading.
Provide the students with a FOCUS FOR MEDIA INTERACTION, asking them to predict whether or not the sisters are going to be successful with the homestead. PLAY the tape where you last left off. PAUSE the video at the Easter Greeting Card. Discuss the women's suffrage movement.
Divide the students into groups of four. Have the students decide what kind of propaganda would they like to create. After they have decided, distribute the card stock, markers and color crayons. Have the students create their own propaganda pamphlet.
After 15-20 minutes have the groups explain their propaganda pamphlet. Why they chose it? What push elements are there? And whether or not they think that this would be an effective form of enticing someone.
Write about the primary sources used in the documentary. How did these sources develop the story of Esther and her sisters?
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