|Title: Traveling with the
|Subject: Social Studies |
Level: 5 - 6 |
|Students will work in cooperative groups to plan a journey along
either the Wilderness Road or the Oregon Trail. While working in
centers the students will research information about the journey,
plot their course, plan for the journey West, and create a post card
to send "back home." |
Duration: 6 forty-five minute class periods
- Geography: Physical and Cultural
Students develop a
spatial understanding of Earth's surface and the processes that
shape it, the connections between people and places, and the
relationship between man and his environment.
- History: Time, Continuity, and
Students develop a
sense of historical time and historical perspective as they study
the history of their community, state, nation, and world.
and describing significant physical features that have influenced
historical data using primary and secondary sources;
territorial expansion of the United States and analyzing the
effects on relations with Native Americans and external powers;
|Grade-Level Expectations (GLEs):
7. Identify ways in which location and
physical features influence the development or life in a region of
the United States (e.g., effects of natural
3. Identify physical features that influenced
world historical events and describe their influence (e.g., the
Nile and Tigris-Euphrates as “cradles of
- Historical Thinking Skills
24. Use both a primary and secondary source to
describe key events or issues in early American
19. Use multiple primary and secondary sources
to describe world civilizations(H-1A-M4)
- Mathematics : Number and Number
investigations, students demonstrate an understanding of the real
number system and communicate the relationships within that system
using a variety of techniques and tools.
- English/Language Arts : Standard
Students write competently
for a variety of purposes and audiences.
- Demonstrate the operations of a computer (e.g.,
touch-keyboarding skills, save, organize and back-up files) and
other peripheral devices (scanner, digital and video cameras, VCR,
laser disc player) at an intermediate level.
- Use information, media, and technology in a responsible manner
which includes following the school's acceptable use policy,
adhering to copyright laws, respecting the rights of others, and
employing proper etiquette in all forms of communication.
- Use multimedia tools and desktop publishing to develop and
present computer-generated projects for directed and independent
- Use technology tools (e.g., multimedia authoring, writing
tools, digital cameras, drawing tools, web tools) to gather
information for problem solving, communication, collaborative
writing and publishing to create products for various audiences.
TLW use a map to plot a
route in order to plan a trip.
TLW use a map scale to calculate
distance and travel time.
TLW use findings from research to
compile a list of supplies they will need to complete their
TLW "purchase" items from a class-made catalog and will
keep track of money spent and money remaining.
TLW use the
knowledge gained throughout this activity to compose a postcard
message describing their journey (using a desktop publisher).
write a 3-paragraph essay about their experiences throughout the
completion of this project.
*Encyclopedias, paper, & pencils for
*index cards to record purchases & keep track of
*group folders to organize information
plot course on map)
*ruler (for map scale)
*The Ballad of
Lucy Whipple by Karen Cushman
*Cassie's Journey by
*Other books about the life of children traveling
*Student Notes for each center
tools for each center to keep track of groups ready & finished
(pocket charts, I'm ready / done posters)
*Role cards for each
center & role card descriptions
*Venn Diagram (for
*Rubrics for graded activities (plotting map, postcard,
Microsoft Word (postcard &
final publication of essay)
Historic Oregon Trail Interpretive Center -- Oregon Trail
Do We Need?
This lesson is completed either during or
after study of Westward expansion. Students should have background
knowledge of what life was like for the pioneers living on the
Students should be able to conduct research using
World Book Online. They should also know the "basics" such as
opening a file, saving, printing, etc. Finally, the students should
have worked with Kidpix, Kidworks, Microsoft Word, and Internet
Explorer and therefore should need little guidance in completing a
task using these software packages.
1. The students will be split into groups of
4 (2 groups will complete the activity based on the Wilderness Road
and 2 groups will complete the activity based on the Oregon Trail.)
Each group will rotate through centers 1 - 6. One 45 minute class
session will be allocated for each center. If more time is needed
arrangements will be made with the teacher. One very helpful
management strategy is to assign a role to each member of the group
for each center. I usually place role cards with the directions for
each center. Before beginning the activity for that center, the
students pick cards to find out their role.
2. Center 1
Groups will access a bookmarked site (Wilderness Road map
www.rootsweb.com/~vanrhs/wrrm/map.html or Oregon Trail map
www.or.blm.gov/NHOTIC/OTHistory/trailmap.htm ) containing a
map of their trail.
B. They will then print this map and plot
out their trip from the starting point to their destination.
They will also use the map scale to calculate the total distance of
D. Finally, they will figure out their estimated
travel time and plot how far they should go each month of their
NOTE: Students should use different color highlighters
to plot their monthly courses so that the difference between their
original trip and monthly trips can be distinguished. Students may
use a calculator to figure distance and travel time.
Centers 2 & 3 (Research Centers: center 2 uses encyclopedias
& center 3 uses computers)
A. Groups will research the life
of pioneers while traveling to determine what supplies they should
bring with them as well as how much of each supply they need.
Students will use: encyclopedias & bookmarked sites What
Supplies Do We Need? www.sd129.org/goodwin/plan-3.htm &
World Book Online www.worldbookonline.com .
researching, the students will take notes of the supplies they need
4. Center 4:
A. Groups will look through an
electronic catalog developed by the class (Kidworks) to "shop" for
supplies on their journey. Each group will have a certain amount of
money to spend.
B. They will record their purchases on an index
card that will act as their financial records. The groups must
figure out how much money they spent on each person in the group.
This total must be written on the index card.
NOTE: Centers 2
& 3 must be completed before Center 4 can be completed. This may
cause a problem with rotation. If it does, I will usually adjust my
schedule and incorporate a small reading group to read from The
Ballad of Lucy Whipple by Karen Cushman or Cassie's
Journey by Brett Harvey. Both are books that tell the story of
children traveling by wagon train. This helps the students to
understand what life was like for kids their own age at this time in
history. If you cannot find these books any book about the life of
children along the frontier will work.
5. Center 5:
Groups will design a frontier postcard to mail back to their
B. The postcards must have an original picture
(designed in Kidpix) and a message telling about their journey and
the cost of traveling west.
C. The message should be imaginative
and full of rich detail. It should also reflect their research of
NOTE: The students' pictures are designed in
Kidpix and saved. They are then inputed into a Word document that
has been formatted to be a template for a postcard (includes a
section to insert the picture and a section to write their
6. Center 6: (Independent Center)
A. Each group
member will write an essay telling what he/she learned about being a
B. Their essay should include 3 paragraphs:
they feel life was like for the pioneers
2. compare &
contrast of pioneer life and their life (use Venn Diagram)
conclusion paragraph which includes things they learned from
completing this project
7. Groups will present their post
card and will also share pieces of their essays with the
Rubrics will be used to grade map activities,
the postcard, and essay.
Informal assessments such as
question/answer sessions and teacher monitoring will also be
Students will also turn in an anonymous, informal
evaluation of how each group member worked within the group.
Small group instruction
All activities can be
modified for individual needs
----- written by Jill Esquivel
1. Students can type their essays and compile
them with their group member's essay into a scrapbook which includes
their notes, financial record, & postcard.
2. Students can
also create diary entries as though they are children traveling
along the Wilderness Road & Oregon Trail. They can record these
electronically using desktop publishing software.
Boehm, R., Hoone, C., McGowan, T.,
McKinney-Browning, M., Miramontes, O., & Porter, P. (2000).
United states. New York: Harcourt Brace & Company.
In submitting this lesson
plan I included changes that I found needed to made after teaching
the lesson to two groups of students. When teaching the lesson the
first time, I realized the very obvious problem that Centers 2 &
3 had to be completed before Center 4 could be done. At that time I
gave students enrichment activities to complete. It was as I was
preparing to teach it a second time that I found the books The
Ballad of Lucy Whipple and Cassie's Journey. These books
really helped the students to understand that it wasn't just adults
dealing with the difficulties of journeys west, but children faced
I found that this lesson helped to bring the
real world aspect to the students learning because in every activity
they complete they must asume the role of a pioneer traveling west.
You will hear the students discussing problems they will face along
the trail or triumphs they celebrate; and they will be speaking as
if they are really there. From a teacher's perspective it is an
awesome thing to see my students so wrapped up in their learning.
Lesson: No |