Learning Goals and
Objectives--Grades 3 - 5
Voices and Choices--Ambroise Moreau
Note: It is a good idea to print
Level One for easy reference.
Ambroise Moreau needs a table for his household.
He has 10 bushels of wheat--the only surplus food that his farm
produced this year--to trade for a table. What kind of table will
he be able to afford--used, custom made, or home-made?
These themes can be explored with either a social studies or
language arts curriculum. Use these themes to tie in other
resources to your class discussion, i.e., other books, other
cultures, students' own lives.
- Scarcity and surplus--what do these terms mean and how
do they apply to Ambroise Moreau's situation?
- Self-sufficiency--to survive on the frontier families
had to be able to build their own house, household furniture, and
grow their own food.
These questions which come at the end of each story, minus "the
answer", can be used to start class discussions or be assigned as
Are all of the things you own brand new? Have you ever traded
something you owned for something you wanted?
Have your students bought used things from garage sales or
thrift shops? Maybe students have older siblings who give them
"hand-me-downs." Have students traded cards or objects with each
How do you purchase things that you need? How did the colonists
Money was scarce in the colonies. Instead, colonists would trade
goods that had the same relative monetary value. This is known as
Where did their household objects come from? Where do yours
Household objects were scarce in the colonies. Most people had
to make their own furniture. Some of the colonists were trained
artisans and could make things that people needed. Items, such as
plates, crockery, and glassware, would have come from New Orleans
in exchange for animal pelts or agricultural goods from the
colonies. Estate sales made items available that were scarce or
otherwise too expensive for most settlers to purchase.
Why would this table have been important to the Moreaus? Can
you list all of the different things that might have taken place at
A colonial house would have had very little furniture. A table
would have provided a useful surface, and served as a reminder of
the European way of life. They might have prepared and eaten meals
at the table. Outside of meal time, the table would have been a
place to play cards or would have served as a desk.
What is an estate sale? Have you ever been to one?
When a man or woman died, their possessions were usually sold in
an estate sale. The profits of the estate sale were divided among
the heirs. Estate sales exist today. They are usually publicized in
a local newspaper or gazette (find one to show to your
These are suggested classroom activities and student projects
that you may want to use with your students or as models to create
1. Creating Estate Inventories:
Ambroise went to the estate sale of Marie Catherine Baron. Take a
look at the inventory of her estate in Clues to the Past
- Use the estate inventory of Marie Catherine Baron as a model to
make an inventory of your bedroom, living room, and kitchen.
2. Compare your inventory list with that of Marie Catherine
- What did she have in her house that you don't have?
- What do you have in your house that she didn't have?
- Are there any similarities between your inventory and
- Make a museum label: Choose your favorite object from your
inventory list and draw it or take a photograph of it. Can you
write a museum label for your object?
- For an example of a museum label go to Objects
Select one of the objects and read the text underneath it. Notice
how the text is organized:
- the name of the object and the date it was made
- a list of the materials used to make the object
- a brief narrative describing how the object was used, maybe its
cost, and who made it.
3. Map Activity
- See if you can trace the route the table from Marie Catherine
Baron's estate inventory would have taken to reach Illinois from
- Read about her table in Objects
- Trace the two different routes the table could have taken from
Canada to Illinois in Maps
© Illinois State Museum