MiniPage activities meet many state and national educational standards. This week's standards: Students describe the geographic context that has influenced people and events in the past. (Geography) Students understand family life in various places long ago. (History) Students understand the characteristics, distribution and migration of human populations on Earth's surface. (Geography)
1. Design a poster telling about the Homestead Act and encouraging people to travel west for land.
2. Find items in the newspaper that would have helped homesteaders (a) build a house, (b) plow or clear the land, (c) heat a home, and (d) teach in a classroom.
3. Pretend you are a member of a homesteading family that has been working the land for four years. Write a letter to a relative in the East telling about your life on the homestead.
4. The Homestead Act caused many people to move west. Make a list of the personal qualities homesteaders had to have. Make a list of the skills they needed. Now make a list of people you know who have some of those qualities and skills.
5. Use resource books and the Internet to learn more about the Homestead Act. Use these questions to guide your research: How did the government decide which land to open to homesteading? How successful was the Homestead Act; how many people were able to live for five years on the land? How did the homesteading laws change over the years? What kind of fraud did the dishonest engage in with homestead land? Why was the Homestead Act finally repealed?