Laura and the Hopper Teacher's Page

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

The story of the Grasshopper plagues that Laura Ingalls Wilder wrote about in her book, On the Banks of Plum Creek, is one of the best descriptions of that devastating event. The plagues were caused by invasions of Rocky Mountain Locusts that are now extinct. Much additional information about the locust invasions in the Midwest are available at our web pages at Missouri State University's Agricultural History site. At that location you can find information about the natural history of the locusts, how early farmers responded, stories of the devastation and destitution that resulted, plus additional links. Material for discussing how we might address such disasters today is also presented.

Missouri's Grade-Level Expectations (GLEs)


1 Develop and apply skills and strategies to the reading process

E Vocabulary

Develop vocabulary by listening to and discussing unknown words in stories (ST: CA 2, 3 1.5, 1.6) (FR: I 6d, 1e, K-4)

Develop vocabulary through text, using, context clues, glossary and dictionary (ST: CA 2, 3 1.5, 1.6) (FR: I 6d, 1e, K-4)

H Apply post-reading skills to comprehend text, question to clarify, reflect, analyze, draw conclusions, summarize, and paraphrase (ST: CA 2, 3 1.6 & 3.5) (FR: I 1e,3g,4e & f, II 1c,d,f & h, 2d K-4)

Apply post-reading skills to identify the main idea and supporting details, question to clarify, reflect, summarize, paraphrase (ST: CA 2, 3 1.6 & 3.5)

(FR: I 1e,3g,4e & f, II 1c,d,f & h, 2d K-4)

I Making Connections

Identify and explain connections between text ideas -- information and relationships in various fiction and non-fiction works, text ideas and own experiences, text ideas and the world by demonstrating an awareness that literature reflects a culture and historic time frame (CA: 2,3,7, (FR: I 1d,3a,4c,d & h, 5a-d,6c, II 1j, K-4)

3 Develop and apply skills and strategies to comprehend, analyze and evaluate nonfiction from a variety of cultures and times.

A Text Features

Apply information in illustrations, title, chapter headings, table of contents, glossary, charts, diagrams, graphs, glossary, captions and maps to comprehend text

(CA: 3 1.5,1.6) (FR: I 5e, IV 3c, K-4)

C Text Elements

Use details from text to organize a sequence of events, identify cause and effects, draw conclusions, make predictions, make inferences (CA: 3 1.6,2.4,3.1,3.5) (FR: I 3c,II 1d, III 2e-f, 3a, K-4)


1 Apply a writing process in composing text

A Writing Process

Follow a writing process to independently use a simple graphic organizer in prewriting (CA: 1,4, 1.8,2.1,2.2) (FR: II 1a,2e,3c,4c-e,gh,&j, III 4c, IV 3a, K-4)

2a Knowledge of continuity and change in the history of Missouri, the United States and the world

A Knowledge of the ways Missourians have interacted, survived and progressed from the distant past to present times

Summarize the Events in westward expansion, including people's motivation, their hardships and Missouri as a jumping-off point to the West

(CA: 1.10, 2.1, 4.1 K-4)

B Economic decision-making


Interpret past, explain present and predict future consequences of economic decisions (decisions made by consumers and decisions pertaining to the environment) (CA 1.6, 1.10,2.1,3.8, K-4)


TOOLS OF SOCIAL SCIENCE INQUIRY7 Knowledge of the use of tools of social science inquiry


A1 Identify, select, use and create appropriate resources for social science inquiry


Identify, select and use visual, graphic and auditory aids


Use and evaluate primary and secondary sources (diaries, letters, people, interviews, journals and photos)

National Education Standards

LIFE SCIENCE (Organisms and Their Environments)

  • All animals depend on plants. Some animals eat plants for food. Other animals eat animals that eat plants.
  • An organism's patterns of behavior are related to the nature of that organism's environment, including the kinds and numbers of other organisms present, the availability of food and resources, and the physical characteristics of the environment. When the environment changes, some plants and animals survive and reproduce, and others die or move to new locations.
  • All organisms cause changes in the environment where they live. Some of these changes are detrimental to the organism or other organisms, whereas others are beneficial.
  • Humans depend on their natural and constructed environments. Humans change environments in ways that can be either beneficial or detrimental for themselves and other organisms.


  • Students use a variety of media and formats to communicate information and ideas effectively to multiple audiences.
  • Students use technology to locate, evaluate and collect information from a variety of sources.
  • Students use technology tools to process data and report results.
  • Students evaluate and select new information resources and technological innovations based on the appropriateness for specific tasks.
  • Students use technology resources for solving problems and making informed decisions.
  • Students employ technology in the development of strategies for solving problems in the real world.

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This page was developed by 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.