have been asked to assist the curator at the History
Center in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. The curator is collecting information
about early farming practices. Your job is to research information
found in Beulah Usher's trunk and report your discoveries.
Step 1 - Explore the childhood of Beulah Usher
To begin, read the biographical information
about Beulah Usher, a girl who grew up on a farm near Cedar Rapids,
Step 2 - Brainstorming questions
Here are a few questions to help you get a picture of life as a child
living on a farm in the early 1900's.
- What did Beulah Usher enjoy doing as a child?
- Why do you think she enjoyed those activities?
- What were some of the ways that Beulah helped on her parents'
- How was Beulah's school different from your school?
Add two or three of your questions to this list, and uncover the
answers in the biographical information.
Step 3 - Develop a historical comparison chart
Your next challenge as assistant curator is to compare three phases
of Iowa agriculture:
- Pioneer farming in 1850
- The horse farm of the early 1900s
- Farming today
First, make a chart like the one below. Divide your chart into three
columns to show how work was done on the pioneer farm in 1850 and
how it was done on the horse-powered farm of 1900 and how it is done
Farming Yesterday and Today
In each column, describe how farmers plowed, planted, and harvested
crops and the kind of equipment they used.
- Fill in the first column with info from these two timelines created
by the US Department of Agriculture.
Life on the Farm
Farm Machines and
and by reading the books and websites
in the Media Center.
- Next, complete the middle column of the chart by reading Early
20th Century Farming Practices and reviewing the photos
in the documents file and websites in the
- Complete the last column by researching today's farms as you
explore the excellent books and websites
in the Media Center.
Step 5 - Summarize your findings
What do you think were the most important characteristics of each
phase? Prepare to share your findings with the curator by writing
three paragraphs, one for each phase.