Prairietown Learning Activities
These articles for the classroom and beyond will give your students an opportunity to learn more about life in 1836. For more information on Prairietown and life in 1836, visit the the 1836 Prairietown section of this site.
Do you want your students to have an even more engaging 1836 Prairietown experience? Consider incorporating our new Achievement Cards into your visit. These cards feature various roles for the students to take on while traveling through town. Each card has a list of tasks that students must complete to achieve a specific role in Prairietown. With these Achievement Cards, you can create a more focused approach to your visit. The roles students can take on are as follows: Cook, Deputy, Farmhand, Gardener, Naturalist, Healer, Housekeeper and Scholar. Before your visit, you can print out the cards you want to use and let students know what to expect. These will give you and your students ideas and guidance on how to ‘play along’ in Prairietown, as well as give students a more enriching learning experience.
Start here: Teacher Guide to Using Achievement Cards in Prairietown
Download the Achievement Cards here
Adventure Guide Instructions for Teachers
Download Adventure Guides here: Unlucky Traveler's Guide and Seek and Find
Additional Materials for Students
Prairietown: Basic Information
Glossary of Prairietown words
Prairietown is a fictional-yet-historically accurrate 1836 Indiana village. Most of the buildings were moved to Conner Prairie from their original locations around Indiana. These structures reflect the styles, materials, techniques, and furnishings of buildings found in 1836 Indiana. They represent the varied architecture found side-by-side in a typical Indiana village.
The characters in Prairietown are modeled on the lives and experiences of real people who settled in Indiana. Population and historical studies were undertaken to ensure that the characters accurately represent early residents of Hamilton County. They reflect the lifestyles, attitudes, ethnic and regional backgrounds, and religious and world views of Indiana's citizens during the 1800s. The characters you meet are the average citizens. Their stories are those of the people who built Indiana and the nation. For example, Prairietown’s founder, Dr. George Washington Campbell, draws comparisons to William Conner, one of the first settlers in Hamilton County, the founder of Noblesville, and Conner Prairie’s namesake.
The characters of Prairietown are portrayed using first-person interpretation. Costumed facilitators role-play characters from 1836. Each village resident goes about his or her daily activities—cooking, gardening, storekeeping, blacksmithing, etc.
As you visit Prairietown you might ask residents about their work, their foods, or their migration to Indiana. They will be happy to share their stories and tell you about their family and history. Just remember that their knowledge of history stops on the date of your visit—in 1836. For example, while President Andrew Jackson is well known, Abraham Lincoln is not.
The Teapot Story
Recommended for Grade 4
This is the story of a teapot as it travels from England to Prairietown in 1836. It will familiarize students with modes of transportation in the 1830s as well as the concept of importing goods. Accompanying activities will help students understand the challenges of travel in the 1830s, calculate distances, and identify major geographic features. The Teapot Story activity guide
Farming and Farms: This article provides an overview of farming in 19th-century Indiana - soil quality, type of livestock, markets where crops were sold and more.
Travel and Transportation: This article focuses on the logistics of traveling in and to/from Indiana in the 1800s - the hurdles, innovations and the impact of a growing nation on road construction.
William Conner Article: This article provides an accounting of William Conner's life in both the Native-American and white settler worlds and how he blended and navigated between the two. Also learn of his family and his contributions to politics and town planning.
Live Like Lincoln: A helpful guide to locations in 1836 Prairietown that reflect what Abraham Lincoln might have experienced in his lifetime. This guide also includes a listing of educational resources on Lincoln.