Lesson 8: Dance at Grandpa's

Getting Started

Questions to Explore

  • How were pioneer families dependent on other families who lived nearby?

Facts and Definitions

  • Music plays an important role in culture.


  • Draw conclusions, make generalizations, and gather support by referencing the text. (LA)
  • Respond to fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and drama using interpretive and evaluative processes.
  • Relate plot, setting, and characters to own experiences and ideas. (LA)
  • Respond to text by reflecting on learning, gaining new insights, and identifying areas for further study. (LA)
  • Interpret, create, and use graphic sources of information, including maps, charts, graphs, and diagrams. (LA)


  • Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder
  • journal
  • square dance music


Tell your child that Laura's family has some fun in today's chapter. Ask your child to describe what her family does for fun or to celebrate. Discuss how a fun night for Laura's family in the Big Woods might look different than it would today.

Discuss how extended families gather for celebrations. Explain that there were very few people living in the woods near Laura's family. The families depended on one another to help out with big jobs on the farm and also for support and community. They gathered for celebrations as well as for work.
Reading and Questions
Materials: Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder, journal
Today your child will read the "Dance at Grandpa's" chapter and then answer the following questions.
  1. How does Laura describe Grandma's house? Draw a diagram of Grandma's house based on Laura's description.
    There is one large room and three smaller rooms: a bedroom for the aunts, one for Uncle George, and the kitchen. Laura says it is very clean, and the floor is polished white. Your child may mention or show the fireplace at one end of the house and the bed at the other end and may show the large cookstove in the kitchen.
  2. Why do you think Laura enjoyed going to her grandparents' house?
    Answers will vary. Your child may mention seeing the family, playing in the large house, or the wonderful smells.
  3. What did Uncle George do for a job?
    He was a soldier.
  4. In this chapter, Laura goes to a big dance. Have you ever been to a dance? If so, did you enjoy it? If you have never been to a dance, do you think you would like it? Why or why not?
    Answers will vary.
  5. What did everyone do with the maple syrup? Why did they put it over snow?
    They put snow on a plate and poured syrup over it. The cold snow mixed with the warm syrup made candy. Your child may also mention that they ate hot hasty pudding with maple syrup for supper.
  6. What role does the extended family play in Laura's life? What role does your extended family play in your life?
    Answers will vary.