Pioneer Life Web Quest

Introduction | Task | Process & Resources | Conclusion

Creator:  Ann Wiley, Johnston Community School District, 2003





Pioneer life was very different than today in many ways.  In this Web Quest, you will learn what pioneer life was like for Fathers, Mothers, and Children. 




Part I - resources

Students will be in groups – Fathers, Mothers, and Children.  As a pair, students will research parts of pioneer life according to their role. Students will fill out their journals.

Father Journal (pdf)                Mother Journal (pdf)              Child Journal (pdf)



Part II - resources

Each student will complete an ‘Learning At Home’ activity and bring to share with their ‘family’ triad and share with their triad poster.  All activities need parental guidance and are to be completed as a family do-together activity.


Part III

Students will get in mixed triad ‘family’ group (father, mother, child) and share journals.  Students will prepare a poster with the most interesting discovery for each role.


Part IV

Each ‘family’ triad will share their poster with the class.





Process & Resources ------– Father Role | Mother Role | Child Role

Part I – Role Journal Resources




Discovery Stop #1

During pioneer’s traveling, they had many hardships, what were some of the hardships?

What caused the Prairie Fires?

What caused the wagons to break down?



Discover Stop #2

Where did the earliest pioneers claim land?

What resource did the pioneers use for building a house?


Discovery Stop #3

What else did pioneers use to build cabins?

What did they use to fill cracks in their cabins?


Tools of Farm Life

Discovery Stop #4

What kind of tool was used to drill holes?

What was a plow used for on the prairie?






Discovery Stop #1

What kind of bed was typical in a cabin?  Why was it popular?

What kind of a tool was used to spin fiber and what did they spin it into?


Discover Stop #2

What did women typically take care of for their families?

What were some duties of domestic (family) life for mothers?



Discovery Stop #3

What was used to make butter?

What was used to make butter cakes?


Discovery Stop #4

What are a few of the food items that could be purchased at the General Store?

Where did families keep their food to keep from spoiling?

Families did not have boxed foods, but created their own recipes.  What were some of the recipes?


Medical Care

Discovery Stop #5

How did pioneers make medicines?

What illness did some pioneers believe a dead spider could prevent?

What did some pioneers believe a rattlesnake’s heart could cure?






Wagon Ride

Discover Stop #1

What materials were the wagons most commonly made of?

At the end of the trail and traveling, what would the wagons be used for?

What were possible farm animals that pulled your wagons?



Discovery Stop #2

How many schools are there in a community?

How many classrooms are in the school?

How many teachers are in the school?

What do you use to write on during school?

What do children bring their lunches to school in?

How do children get to school?


Play & Toys

Discovery Stop #3

What were some of the children’s games and toys?

What other things did they do for fun?




Part II – Learning At Home Activities

Covered Wagon – Build your own covered wagon using household supplies.  Bring your covered wagon to share with the class.


Pioneer Recipes – Bake or cook a pioneer favorite food from a collection of recipes.  Bring your kitchen creation to share with the class.


Apple Core Dolls – Use an apple core and dowel/stick to create a doll.  Bring your creation to class and we’ll watch it ‘wrinkle’ up.


Wagon Trail Dolls – Create a rag doll out of yarn.  Bring your doll to share with the class.


Pioneer Games – Create a family game after playing one of these games together.  Bring a description of your game to share with the class.


Log Cabin Craft – use an empty milk carton to create a mini log cabin.  Bring your cabin to class to share.







There are three products of learning on this WebQuest. 

·      Role Journal

·      Family Triad Poster

·      Learning At Home Activity


Journal, Poster, LAH Activity










Journal answers are complete and accurate.


Information presented is accurate.


Journal answers are complete with a few inaccuracies.


Information presented has a few inaccuracies.


Journal answers are not all complete and not all accurate.


Information presented has many inaccuracies.



Journal is written in complete sentences.


Poster includes neat writing, illustrations, and color.


LAH activity is complete and turned in on time.

Journal is written in mostly complete sentences.


Poster includes mostly neat writing, illustrations, and color.


LAH activity is complete.

Journal does not include complete sentences.


Poster could be more neat in the writing, illustrations, and color.


LAH activity is not complete.



Worked top notch as a partner and a group member.


Worked well as a partner and a group member.

Had a few incidences as a partner and/or a group member.











Creator:  Ann Wiley, Johnston Community School District, 2003