Lesson plan

Papering the Plains States

Making inferences from texts about the Plains States, your students will learn how to read with a purpose! In this lesson, your students will practice important skills while developing knowledge of various states.
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Students will be able to make inferences about the Plains States from grade appropriate texts referring to specific details of the text.

(5 minutes)
  • Tell your students that they will be learning about the Plains region.
  • Ask students to look at a map of the United States and say what states they believe will be in this region and why.
  • After students have made their guesses, reveal that the Plains States are Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, South Dakota, and North Dakota.
  • Have students locate all of these states on the map.
(10 minutes)
  • Tell your students that they will be going through books that are set in these states or in environments like it to learn more about the Plains States.
  • Pass out the graphic organizer.
  • Have students open up Sarah, Plain and Tall.
  • Direct students to the part where Papa is driving off to pick up Sarah.
  • Read a section of this passage aloud to your class.
  • When you're done, explain that this section tells you things about the Plains States. These things include that there are farms, that people live far apart, that the roads are not all paved, etc.
  • Model filling out the graphic organizer with this information.
(5 minutes)
  • Have students choose a section of the passage that they think might provide them with some information about the Plains States.
  • Read over a section as a class, and ask your students to draw conclusions about the climate and geography of the Plains States from it.
  • If students are having difficulties, prompt them to think about the visuals they are getting in their heads.
  • Demonstrate again how the information would be written in the chart.
(15 minutes)
  • Break students into groups of 2-4, and instruct them to use Charlotte's Web to finish filling out the chart.
  • If students are struggling with making inferences, encourage them to think about the images the text brings to mind about the Plains and determine what part of the text is causing that image.


  • Have students draw inferences from other sources besides novels, such as newspaper or magazine stories.


  • Show pictures of the Plains to help students visualize what the text is talking about.
(10 minutes)
  • Make sure your students list seven facts about the Plains States that they learned based on what the authors of Charlotte’s Web and Sarah, Plain and Tall wrote.
  • Pick another book set in the Plains States. For example, use Little House on the Prairie.
  • Instruct your students to find at least three more facts about the Plains States based on what the author wrote.
(10 minutes)
  • Call your students back together.
  • Have each group appoint a leader to share with the class a couple of observations they made and where they found the basis for these in the texts.
  • After each group shares, ask if any other groups came up with similar observations based on a different part of the texts.

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