Laura and the Hopper

A  Writing and Social Studies WebQuest for Grade 4
WebQuest Agricultural Series by Missouri Farm Bureau and Missouri State University

Imagine that it's 1876.  You and your family live in a sod home on the prairie.  You come out of your house on a hot summer afternoon.  The sky is strangely dark. Plunk, plunk, plunk. Grasshoppers are raining down from the sky.  How can there be so many grasshoppers? There are millions of them.  What will happen to your crops?  Will the grasshoppers eat everything?  On this WebQuest, you will learn the answers to these and other questions.

Write a story about what it must have been like to live on a farm when the grasshoppers came.  To write your story, keep a daily journal for seven days telling what happened each day as the grasshoppers arrived.  On the first day, tell about your farm. What crops and animals do you have? Tell about your family. Tell about your house.  Then each day tell what it was like after the grasshoppers had arrived.

Prepare a list of the crops grown on the Ingalls' farm.  Tell something about each of those crops and draw a picture of each.
Create a time-line.  On the time-line, include the steps involved in the production of modern wheat.  Start with harvest in June and continue to harvest the next June.  The time-line for wheat production for the Ingalls family would not have been that different. They just did not have all of the modern equipment that today's farmers have.

Learn more about wheat and also about acres. Answer the questions on our problem page.

Step 1:  The story above is similar to something that happened to young Laura Ingalls when they lived near the banks of Plum Creek. Read the chapter called "The Glittering Cloud" in the book On the Banks of Plum Creek by Laura Ingalls Wilder.

Step 2:  Visit this web page to learn about real people who lived in Missouri during the grasshopper years.

Step 3:  Read about the Great Locust Mystery.

Step 4:  Learn about the steps involved in the production of wheat throughout the year.

Step 5:  Look for charts about acres and wheat production and answer the questions above. Be sure and notice that there are many charts and graphs that you can look at.

We are glad that you learned about grasshoppers and wheat.  To learn more about Laura and her family or about the production of wheat visit these web sites:
Laura Ingalls Wilder Home in Missouri
Ingalls home near Walnut Grove, Minnesota


Assignment   Yes  No  Points possible  Points earned  Comments 
Journal Entries           
Ingalls Crops            
Wheat Time-line           
Acre Problems           
Teacher Page           


This WebQuest was created by teachers participating in Missouri's Agriculture in the Classroom program at Missouri State University through a USDA grant.  The template on this site was adapted from a template from The WebQuest Page and the original was designed by Dr. Lyndon Irwin.  Assistance for this project was provided by Mrs. Barbara Irwin, M.S. and Mrs. Diane Olson, M.S.

Teachers are encouraged to adapt this lesson for classroom use only.  No part of this publication may be transmitted, stored, recorded or published in any form without written permission from Missouri Farm Bureau.
This page was developed by Dr. Lyndon Irwin, reviewed by Lyndon and the late Barbara Irwin and is maintained by Missouri Farm Bureau.

Please address questions to Diane Olson at Missouri Farm Bureau.