The Great Turkey Walk
A WebQuest for Grades 4-5, WebQuest Agricultural Series by Missouri Farm Bureau and Missouri State University



This WebQuest is based on the book, "The Great Turkey Walk" by Kathleen Karr.  Ask your teacher or librarian to help you locate a copy if you have not already read it.

Imagine if Simon were to walk his turkeys from Missouri to Colorado in the 21st century. Would the trip be the same as described in the book? Would he have traveled to the same places? How much money would Simon earn if he were to sell his turkeys today?  Because so many things have changed over time, Simon's journey would be very different today--the landscape has changed and the turkey market has changed.

Your task is to research the cost of turkeys in today's market and calculate the difference in profit. You will also view the route Simon took in the book from Union, Missouri to Denver, Colorado and make a current map of the route you would take today. Finally, since Simon's intelligence was questioned throughout the book, you will respond to an opinion of Simon's intelligence. Did he behave as "pea-brained" as everyone thought he was?

Step 1:  Read Farm Bureau's news release on the price of a Thanksgiving dinner. Find the average price of a turkey this year.

Step 2:  Once you have the price of a turkey in today's market, complete the compare and contrast chart to show how much money Simon would have made if he sold his turkeys today.

Step 3:  Create a map of Simon's journey using MapQuest's Driving Directions. Enter Union, Missouri in Franklin County as your starting location and Denver, Colorado as your ending location. As you view your map, do you see any problems that might arise if Simon were to walk one thousand turkeys through these areas today? Think about large cities, resting areas for Simon and his turkeys, and food and water along the way.

Step 4: After you have thought of some problems Simon might encounter making this journey today, create a new map for Simon to follow. He still has to start in Union, Missouri and he still needs to end in Denver, Colorado. On your map, be sure to label important places, such as cities, streams, and landmarks along the way.

Step 5: Imagine that, after reading this story, a friend states that Simon is pea-brained. Explain why you agree or disagree with your friend's statement. Use at least three details and/or examples from the story to support your opinion.

You have found that if Simon had walked his turkeys from Missouri to Denver in the 21st century his trip would have been much different! The journey would have had many more obstacles because they would not have been walking through open fields because towns and cities have popped up all over the place. While the journey may have been more difficult, Simon would still be making a nice, big profit at the end to share with his friends and start up his new venture. Simon may not have a lot of "book smarts", but he sure knew how to herd turkeys!



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 Samantha McMaster Warren, 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