Pioneer Life Page Slider

Pioneer Life

Students use primary and secondary sources including: letters, photographs, and maps. They will also handle authentic and reproduction artifacts; and engage in a variety of hands-on activities representative of Ohio’s early pioneers. Following a brief orientation presentation, including a discussion on how historians study the past, the student will break into groups and move between six stations where they will learn about topics ranging from food preparation to clothing, and from chore and school to games and toys. Following the program, students will compte the cultural practices and products of the pioneers with those of today or with other groups they know about that settled in Ohio over time. This highly active experience is best set up in a large activity area, gymnasium, or outside. The History to Go Van is available to visit multiple classes at your school for a half-day (3 hours) or a full-day (6 hours).


Primary Objective: Through hands-on activities students will experience some cultural practices and products of Ohio’s pioneers.


Location: An Ohio History Connection representative travels to your school.


Availability: Please contact the Scheduling and Reservation Office about availability.


Time Allowance: Half-Day – 3 hours

                         Full-Day – 6 hours


Cost: Half-Day -- $200.00 plus roundtrip mileage

         Full-Day -- $350.00 plus roundtrip mileage


The school is responsible for providing 6 volunteers who will help during the entire program.



What will the students do? Activities may include:

What’s It Table: Students will handle authentic and reproduction artifacts relating to pioneer life in Ohio.

School Days: Students practice writing with a slate and slate pencils or with steel-nibbed pens and ink using a copy of Spencer’s system penmanship, and examine a hornbook and period alphabet cards. Students fold copies of period children’s letters and seal them with wax to create envelopes.

Chores: Students experience the types of chores typical on the Ohio frontier.

Food Preparation: Students use a mortar and pestles, graters and coffee grinds to learn about methods of pioneer food preparation.

Games: Students play games of skill designed to improve hand/eye coordination, physical coordination, and to teach life skills.

Toys: Students play with toys typical of those used by pioneer children.

Furs: Students touch and identify the furs of animals found on the Ohio frontier.

Clothing: Students try on reproduction pioneer clothing.

Weaving: Students try their hand at making jean cloth (a wool and cotton cloth typical to the Ohio frontier).

Really Cool Old Maps: Students use copies of historical maps to learn about the Ohio frontier.

Load a Flatboat: Students learn about the flatboat, a typical form of transportation and make decisions about what they need to bring to Ohio. They will load the boat trying to keep a walkway to the door, and trying not to capsize the boat with their belongings.




Archaeologist: A person who studies ancient culture through examination of their buildings, tools, and other objects.

Artifact: A material object of a culture such as a tool, an article of clothing, or a prepared food.

Consumer: A person whose wants are satisfied by using goods and services.

Cultural Practice: A pattern of behavior accepted by a society.

Cultural Product: A tangible (e.g. a painting, a cathedral, a mosque, a piece of literature, a pair of chopsticks) or intangible (e.g. an oral tale, a dance, a sacred ritual, a system of education) aspect produced by a cultural group.

Culture: Learned behavior of a group of people, which includes their belief systems and languages, their social relationships, their institutions and organizations, and their material goods such as food, clothing, buildings, tools, and machines.

Custom: Something that people always do or always do in a particular way by tradition.

Primary Source: An account of an event by someone who was present at the event.

Producer: A person who makes good and service.

Secondary Source: An account of an event by someone who was not present at the event.

Settlement: A group of settlers living in close contact.

Territory: An area of land; the land and waters under a jurisdiction of a state, nation, or sovereign.

Tradition: A long-established action or pattern of behavior in a community or group of people, often one that has been handed down from generation to generation.


Academic Standards:
Fourth Grade:  SS 4.1, SS 4.2, SS 4.3
Eighth Grade:  SS 8.1