On the Fringes of the Prairie, 1800-1850

Teachers Level One

Learning Goals and Objectives--Grades 3 - 5

Voices and Choices--Patty Sessions Note: It is a good idea to print Level One for easy reference.

Voices and Choices

Patty Sessions is a Mormon midwife who is forced to flee her home in Nauvoo along with her husband and hundreds of other Mormons in the dead of winter. She must decide whether to purchase needed household goods with the money she has earned as a midwife or to donate it to the Mormon church.


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.


What do you think?

These questions, which come at the end of each story (minus "the answer"), can be used to start class discussions or be assigned as homework.

Why did Patty Sessions and her husband leave Nauvoo, Illinois, for Salt Lake City, Utah?

The Sessions left Nauvoo to avoid persecution. When the Mormons founded Nauvoo, they received permission from the state government to have their own courts and a militia that was independent of sate control. As the Mormon city grew to be the largest in the state, the Mormon vote was powerful enough to sway state elections. Nauvoo's non-Mormon neighbors resented the Mormons' prosperity and questioned their patriotism. This resentment peaked with the mob action of 1844, which resulted in the deaths of the two Mormon leaders, Joseph and Hyrum Smith.

Even after their leaders had been killed the Mormons in Nauvoo continued to work on their temple. What do you think temples and churches symbolize?

Temples and churches are physical manifestations of people's religious beliefs and faith. They are also places where people can assemble as a community. Patty donated her hard-earned money to build these temples, showing her commitment to both the Mormon faith and her fellow Mormons.

Why do you think Patty was called Mother Sessions by her friends and neighbors?

As a midwife, she was a care-giver to all those in her community.

Patty chose to buy a stove, are there other items she might have needed on her journey west? Can you list them?

If you had to pick the five most important household objects in your house, what would they be?

Help students define which things have practical importance and which objects have nostalgic importance.



These are suggested classroom activities and student projects that you may want to use with your students or as models to create your own.

1. Creating a Collage

Create a collage illustrating Patty Session's story

2. Creating a Memory Box

Pretend you are moving to a new city or town and create a Memory Box of objects that will help you to remember the people and places you are leaving behind.

More about
  1. Collages
  2. Web Diagrams
  3. Memory Boxes

3. Planning a Trip

Patty Sessions travelled from Illinois to Utah. Her journey took almost a year, from 1846 to 1847, and was made mostly on foot.

Plan a trip to Salt Lake City, Utah, from your home town. You can travel by car, bus, train, or airplane. Some of the resources you might need are: a road atlas, a train schedule with trainfare information, and flight schedules and ticket prices for different airplane companies.

Below are links to three well-known airplane companies and Yahoo's search engine allowing you to select other airplane companies. Look for headings like "Flight information," "Flights," or "Flight schedules" for information on departure dates:
Remote Linkhttps://www.americanair.com/
Remote Linkhttps://www.twa.com/TWA/Airlines/
Remote Linkhttps://www.ual.com/
Remote Link https://www.yahoo.com/Business_and_Economy/Companies/Travel/Airlines/


[HOME] [1800 Home] | Level 2 | Level 3 |

© Illinois State Museum 31-Dec-96