Chapter 6: Colonel Russell's Company

Teacher's Guide Chapter Author: Ashley Winston , 4th grade teacher, Goldfarb School Elementary School, Clark County School District

Chapter Overview: In chapter 5, the Reed family and Colonel Russel's family join forces. They new party is traveling much slower and more cautiously then the other families. But, Patty's father believes that they should be traveling at least 10 miles a day to keep up with other families. Patty's grandmother believes that it is safer to travel slower so the animals will not become tired. The party encounters Native Americans again. The Native Americans they encounter are starving and poor. Patty's father explains that the settlers are driving away all of the Native American's food.

Chapter Themes: Collaboration, Divergent Paths, Native American Stereotypes, Donner Party

Chapter Activities

  • Language Arts
    • Writing a letter.
      • The Reed family encounters Native Americans again and have many negative stereotypes about them. Students will pretend like they are one of the Native American's that the Reed's encountered on their trip. Students will write a letter to a member of the the Reed family attempting to demystify the Native American culture.
      • Standards Addressed
        • (4)5.3 write organized friendly letters, formal letters, thank you letters, and invitations in an
          appropriate format for a specific audience and purpose
        • (4)5.3 write organized friendly letters, formal letters, thank you letters, and invitations in an
          appropriate format for a specific audience and purpose
    • Vocabulary Activity
      • The student will pick at least six words that are unfamiliar to them. The students will be divided into groups. Students must discuss and find the definition, part of speech, synonym and use the words in a sentence.
      • Standards Addressed
        • (4)4.1 use information to comprehend text
        • (4) 2.10 understand and demonstrate use of word processing reference tools (spell check, grammar check, dictionary, thesaurus, etc.)
  • Mathematics
    • Creating a budget
      • The students must go "shopping" for items to take on their trip. Students will have a $300 budget. There items must last the duration of the trip. After ,
      • Standards Addressed
        • (4)1.18 add and subtract multi-digit numbers

    • Conversion
      • Patty Reeds father believed that the party should be traveling at least 10 miles a day. Students will learn how to convert miles, inches, and feet.
      • Standards Addressed
        • (4)3.3 measure, compare, and convert length in inches, feet, yards, and miles to the nearest fractional part.
        • (4)3.1 estimate and convert units of measure for length, area, and weight within the samemeasurement system (customary and metric) [NS 3.4.1]
  • Social Studies
    • Bartering.
      • During their journey, the Reeds were forced to barter for items they needed. The classroom will discuss items that they recently bartered for. (I.E. lunches, toys, games etc) The students will attempt to buy items from the store without classroom money. After the activity, the class will discuss the benefits and disadvantages of bartering.
      • Standards Addressed
        • (4)1.15 evaluate the causes of issues and problems
        • 4)1.12 complete tasks independently
    • Creating a time line
      • Students will create a time line based upon the events that have occurred in Patty Rees Doll
      • Standards Addressed
        • (4)4.9 Create time lines that show people and events in sequence using months, years, decades,
          and centuries
        • (4)4.11 discuss how and why people from various cultures immigrated and migrated to the
          American West
  • Science
    • Endangered Species
      • The Reed's had mentioned that many of the animals and food were scarce because they were being trapped and driven away by gamers. The teacher will play the United Streaming video titled "Where Have All the Animals Gone". The teacher will discuss the terms extinct and endangered. The students will brainstorm a list of things they can do to help animals.
      • Standards
        • (4)4.2 observe and describe variations among individuals within the human population
        • 1.2 use science notebook entries to develop, communicate, and justify descriptions, explanations, and predictions
    • Structure
      • The wagons that were used carried a large amount of equipment. As a group, the students will use straws to create a structure that can bare the most weight. The students will record there observations in there science journal.
      • Standards Addressed
        • (4)4.2 observe and describe variations among individuals within the human population
        • (4)1.7 identify observable patterns to organize items and ideas and make predictions
Historical Overview of Chapter Themes

The Donner Party left Springfield Illinois in 1846. There were originally a total of 33 members of their party , including James Reed. After traveling for approximately two months, the party reached 87 people.

When the Party reached Sierra Nevada they were blocked by a snowstorm. There supplies ran quickly. Many of the members starved to death. If one member was too sick to travel, the remaining people would leave them to die. Eventually, the members resorted to cannibalism .

In 1847, 14 members of the Donner Party reached California. Of the original 87 pioneers, 39 died and 48 survived.

Additional Resources


1 comment:

Christy G. Keeler, Ph.D. said...

One site that I recommend along with the Little House series in This site tells about impressions of Native Americans within the Wilder texts and the beliefs within the Native cultures. It provides great background information. Remember, Laura's view of Native Americans was that of a little girl who was taught to be afraid of them.

Consider using a different method (other than a letter) to tell the Native side of the story) - choose something that aligns better with their cultures (e.g., a Native dance, a work of art).

When you mention creating a budget, are you talking bout in today's dollars or those of the Ingall's family? I think both could be very instructive, but be sure to have students research 1800s prices if they are to cost-out items from over a century ago.

You know I love that idea to include video streaming (gotta include technology!)! An extension might be to have students learn about modern day hunting.

I love the idea of having students learn engineering concepts with the straws! What a fun, hands-on approach to teaching difficult concepts and relating science and history!