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Teacher's Guide

Big Towns and Little Towns

A. Things To Do

1. Print out the guided notes and distribute to class.

2. Watch Dakota Pathways Episode #13 and have the students complete the guided notes.

3. Go online and complete the card matching “Activity” and “Challenge” quiz.

4. Student glossary included.

5. There is a list of related links that would be helpful for student research projects.

6. Print out the crossword puzzle and distribute to class.

7. Class Activity – County Special

8. Standards 

1. Guided Notes

“Guided Notes” PDF
“Guided Notes” PDF - Key

2. Online Episode of Dakota Pathways Episode #13

3. Online games

a. Have the students access the main page of Dakota Pathways. The card matching game is found by clicking “Activity”.
b. Have the students access the main page of Dakota Pathways. The online quiz is found by clicking “Challenge”.

4. Glossary

a. Have the students access the main page of Dakota Pathways. We have included a student glossary.

5. Links

a. We have included an extensive list of related sites. We preview each related site looking for adult content. Unfortunately, we cannot find all of the inappropriate material on an individual site. Please call us Toll Free at 1-800-456-0766 if you find any questionable content and we will remove it. Thank you.

6. Crossword Puzzle

a. The students may use the vocabulary words and definitions for the crossword puzzle if they need help.

Puzzle Answer Key

7. Class Activity – County Special

Every town in South Dakota, whether it is big like Sioux Falls or small like Edgemont, has something special to offer. In the following activity you will choose and research one special feature that exemplifies or represents each community in your county. The project will require a little research and a lot of creativity. The students will construct a topographical map that includes the natural features of your county like streams, hills and mountains.

Also, each town in your county will be represented by one three-dimensional landmark. For example, Tyndall, SD has an awesome flag pole in front of the courthouse that resembles the Eiffel Tower. The students could make a small model of the tower and include information about it; like when it was built, the height of it and maybe the weight of the steel used to make the tower.

Edgemont, SD has an unbelievable number of trains that pass through town every day. The students could represent Edgemont with a train or maybe the community bandstand that President Teddy Roosevelt used to address a crowd in 1903.

Materials: The following is a list of possible materials that could be used to make the map. Use your imagination and have fun with your students.

1. 4’X8’X ¾’’ sheet of plywood (used for entire class, scrap wood better $)

-plywood should be cut into the shape of your county (Industrial Arts Teacher could help)

- Can be made smaller.

2. South Dakota maps
3. Chicken wire (gloves to prevent cuts)

4. Staple gun (direct supervision is required)

5. Wire cutter (direct supervision is required)

6. Newspaper (scrap paper will work)

7. Glue (Elmer’s Glue and water – 15% to 25% glue mixture)

8. Paint (non-toxic tempera paint works well)

9. Styrofoam, wood, clay, cardboard (anything else you will need to make town features)

10. Internet and library research


Day one: (1 class period)

1. Assign each student a city or town (If you do not have enough towns in your county then assign groups. Also, if you have too many towns then pick a few of the towns from various areas in your county.)

2. Internet and library research

Day two: (1 class period)

1. Internet and library research

2. Students must choose feature and verify it with you

Homework and map construction: (1 – 2 weeks)

1. Students must construct their chosen feature (great parent-student project.)

2. Students should research information about their selected feature which will be used on the map key. (3 to 5 interesting facts)

3. The class will work together to build a 3-dimensional map that represents your county using the chicken wire and papier-mâché. (Maybe one or two at a time could work on this if they finish an assignment early.) Use paint, sand, rocks, artificial trees and your imagination to decorate your county.

Final construction: (2 class periods)

1. Glue all of the town features on the map.

2. Include all of the researched information about the town features on a map key.

Related Activity - Build It: Scale During this activity your students will construct 3 “scaled” models of the Flick Cabin in Custer, SD. This is a perfect engineering/math activity for an afterschool group, club or elementary class.


1. examine various regions of the United States in order to focus on how the following affected development of South Dakota, including site selection of settlements (geographical location – where and why), opportunities available, natural resources, and population influences.

2. explain the impact of people and geographic location on the growth and expansion of South Dakota, emphasizing Manda, Arikara, Sioux, and other historic tribes; explorers (Lewis and Clark and the Veredrye brothers) and traders (Pierre Chorteau and Manuel Lisa); railroad expansion and town building; homesteaders and gold miners; and rainfall, prairie, Great Plains, Black Hills, and the Missouri River system.

3. trace the history of South Dakota with emphasis on notable South Dakotans such as Red Cloud, Sitting Bull, John B. S. Todd, Fred T. Evans, Laura Ingalls Wilder, James Scotty Philip, Niels E. Hansen, Gertrude (Zitkala-Sa) Bonin, Peter Norbeck, and Francis Case; impact of the gold rush; controversy over statehood; and Indian Wars and reservation life.


3. use appropriate maps for a specific purpose, including elevation, land use-resource, road maps and mileage tables, time zones, and migration/movement patterns.

5. locate major South Dakota geographical features, such as the Missouri River; the Black Hills and Badlands; and the capital (Pierre) and the following cities: Sioux Falls, Rapid City, Aberdeen, Huron, and Yankton.

6. evaluate the impact geography has on the inhabitants of South Dakota such as location of cities, transportation, industries, agricultural products, and culture.


5. identify examples from South Dakota history of conflicts over rights, how the conflicts were resolved, the important people who helped resolve them, and conflicts that remain unresolved.

Full Script (PDF)

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