What was life on the frontier really like?

In the last half of the 19th century, millions of European immigrants settled on the great prairie that stretched from Indiana to the Dakotas, and from Canada to Texas.

In this exercise, photos from 100 years ago help you see what a harsh environment the Prairie was, and some of the practical ways settlers coped with the conditions. If you look closely, they also show you how the settlers saw themselves and the lives they wanted to lead. These self-images were some of their most important possessions, for they helped them confront the constant limitations the environment imposed.

Using the photos, first think about your own view of settlers' lives, and then practice taking the perspective of different historical actors as you make 'Lantern Slide Shows' about Prairie Life.

more background information

In this exercise explore these questions:

What brought people to the prairie?
What was the physical condition of the prairie environment?
How did settlers see themeselves and the the lives they wanted to lead?
Why might people have left the prairie?

Your Image of Prairie life?
Choose the picture that best matches your idea of frontier life.

Make a Lantern Slide Show
Practice taking the perspective of different historical actors
as you create a slideshow about Prairie Life.