Lesson 6: Life on the Prairie

Getting Started

Questions to Explore

  • What attachments do people have to their environments?
  • How do people's lives revolve around their environment?

Facts and Definitions

  • Music can reflect the environment and activities of a time and place.


  • Write structured, informative narratives. (LA)
  • Retell written messages by clarifying or summarizing. (LA)
  • Read independently for extended periods of time. (LA)
  • Use personal experiences and knowledge to interpret written and oral messages. (LA)


  • Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan
  • book about wildflowers* (Activity 3 - optional)
  • brass brad
  • cardstock paper
  • colored construction paper or tissue paper
  • crayons or colored pencils
  • glue
  • green pipe cleaners
  • journal
  • scissors

* - denotes an optional material that may or may not be needed


Explain to your child that in today's chapter Sarah learns more about Kansas and shares a song that she sang in Maine. If your child has ever moved to a new place, ask him to describe what it feels like to leave a place with which you are familiar and to go to a new place with new people whom you do not know.
Reading and Questions
Materials: Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan, journal
Ask your child to read Chapter 4 in the book. Let him read each of the following questions after reading the chapter. Then he can answer some questions in his journal, and others he can discuss with you.
  1. Why do you think Sarah brought her collection of shells?
    Answers will vary.
  2. Are there any clues that suggest Sarah might stay in Kansas?
    She often says "we" will do something in either winter or summer. This suggests that she plans to stay with them at least until summer.
  3. What kinds of activities do Sarah and the family do together?
    They sing, pick flowers, cook, and talk. Sarah cuts both Caleb and Papa's hair.
  4. How are the activities described in the book different from those you do at your home?
    Answers will vary.
  5. What is different about life on the prairie 100 years ago than life today?
    Today people must do much less work by hand. There are more machines to help do the work, and travel is not so difficult. People in the West can take vacations to the East.