Laura Ingalls Wilder's On the Banks of Plum Creek
by Greta Bahnemann, Metadata Librarian, Minnesota Digital Library, Minitex
eLibrary Minnesota Resources (for Minnesota residents)
1. "Fiction of the 1930s: Modernism for the Masses." American Decades, edited by Judith S. Baughman, et al., vol. 4: 1930-1939, Gale, 2001. Student Resources in Context. Accessed 29 Sept. 2017.
2. "Laura Ingalls Wilder." Britannica School, Encyclopædia Britannica, 13 Aug. 2017. Accessed 29 Sep. 2017.
3. "Little House On The Prairie's' Wilder Women." Talk of the Nation, 18 Aug. 2009. Student Resources in Context. Accessed 29 Sept. 2017.
4. "Overview of Laura (Elizabeth) Ingalls Wilder." DISCovering Authors. Detroit: Gale, 2003. Research in Context. Web. 29 Sept. 2017.
5. "Pioneer life." Britannica School, Encyclopædia Britannica, 13 Jun. 2013. Accessed 29 Sep. 2017.
6. Wommack, Linda. "Little Houses' in the Heartland Showcase Laura Ingalls Wilder Artifacts and Heirlooms." Wild West, vol. 24, no. 5, Feb. 2012, pp. 66-67. EBSCOhost, .
Additional Resources for Research
1. Atkins, Annette. Harvest of Grief: Grasshopper Plagues and Public Assistance in Minnesota, 1873–89. St. Paul: Minnesota Historical Society Press, 1984.
2. Cartwright, R. L.. "Grasshopper Plagues, 1873–1877." MNopedia, Minnesota Historical Society. http://www.mnopedia.org/event/grasshopper-plagues-1873-1877 (accessed November 21, 2017).
3. Fraser, Caroline. Prairie Fires: The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder. New York: Metropolitan Books, Henry Hold and Company, 2017.
4. Keeler, Christy G. "Little House Teacher's Guides."
Teaching Guide: Laura Ingalls Wilder's On the Banks of Plum Creek
Primary Source Analysis
For each source, ask students to indicate:
- the author's point of view
- the author's purpose
- historical context
For inquiry-based learning, ask students to:
- explain how a source tells its story and/or makes its argument
- explain the relationships between sources
- compare and contrast sources in terms of point of view and method
- support conclusions and interpretations with evidence
- identify questions for further investigation
This teaching guide helps instructors use a specific primary source set, Laura Ingalls Wilder's On the Banks of Plum Creek , in the classroom. It offers discussion questions, classroom activities, and primary source analysis tools. It is intended to spark pedagogical creativity by giving a sample approach to the material. Please feel free to share, reuse, and adapt the resources in this guide for your teaching purposes.
1. Look at the 2 cartoon images that deal with the grasshopper infestation in Minnesota. One of the images references the "Irrespressible Conflict" that farmers faced and the second image shows crows and grasshoppers hungrily eyeing a field that is being sown with wheat seed. One of the grasshoppers remarks, "That's wheat by and by." In the face of such devastation brought by the grasshopper swarms, why would some people make light of it? Can using humor help people cope?
2. If you were a pioneer, what jobs and tasks would you want to complete on your homestead? Do they match how we traditionally divide work between men and women? Can girls work in the field and boys work in the house?
1. The Ingalls family travelled across the midwest using a horse drawn covered wagon. These covered wagons were generally 4 feet wide and 12 feet long. Ask students to first make a list of everything they would like to take with them if their family was moving. Use masking tape to mark out the wagon's dimension on the floor. Then discuss how easy or difficult it would be to fit everything on the list into the wagon. What has to be inlcuded? What could students leave behind?