Title: A pioneer definition

Subject Area: Social Studies

Grade Level: Second


Materials Needed:



  1. Read the book, Going West , and have the students focus on what the little girl does that makes her a pioneer.
  2. Have a discussion on what the little girl does and the definition of a pioneer. Ask questions such as: what does it mean to be a pioneer? How was this little girl a pioneer? What do you think it would be like to be a pioneer? Would you have liked to have been a pioneer?
  3. Explain to the students that they are going to be split up in groups of four. In these groups, they are to come up with a definition they all agree on in regards to "what a pioneer is." When they have all reached an agreement, they will write their definition on the board. Number the students off from one to four to split them up into groups.
  4. When the students are done, discuss the similarities and dissimilarities among the definitions. Read the real definition. Ask the students if they know any people that qualify as a pioneer under this definition. Talk with the students about modern pioneers and help them generate ideas of people they know or have heard about who qualify as modern pioneers.
  5. Give the students the assignment to go home and interview someone in their family or a neighbor that they think is a pioneer. If interviewing is too hard for the students, the teacher can try this: write up the questions for them, have the students ask the questions of the person they will interview, have the person write the responses. Include in the interview questions such as:
    • How have you been a pioneer in your life?
    • What things helped you to be a pioneer?
    • What does it feel like to be a pioneer and accomplish what you did?
    • Did anyone help you or motivate you to be a pioneer?
    • What advice would you give to someone that wants to be a pioneer in something?
  6. When the students have finished their interviews, pick a time one day when they are able to share their findings with other students. They can do this by going back in their previous groups and taking turns sharing what they learned. One person can be a spokesperson and share some of their findings to the whole class.
  7. As a closure, have a class discussion on some things the students want to be a pioneer in.


  1. Students will turn in their interviews and be evaluated on their completion and their efforts
  2. Students will be evaluated on their participation in sharing their interviews with their group.
  3. Students will be evaluated on their participation in class discussion. The teacher will assess this by his/her own observations.


  1. The teacher can give a lesson on how to interview.
  2. The students can practice interviewing people and put together a class newspaper.
  3. A more in-depth study of modern pioneers can be given, such as Jackie Robinson.