Westward Expansion Teacher Resources

Find Westward Expansion lesson plans and worksheets
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Moving West

For Students 5th - 8th
In this moving west worksheet, students complete a journal entry about why they would want to move west as a U.S. citizen during the 1800's. Students write it in the point of view of someone in the 1800's.
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Pioneer America: Journey West

For Teachers 4th
Fourth graders experience pioneer life on the Oregon trail. In this pioneer lesson, 4th graders research the reasons for moving west and what life was like on the trail. They create a map, complete an oral presentation, and write about...
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Westward Ho: The Difficulties of Emigrants Moving West

For Teachers 4th - 5th
Students research the journey west of 19th century emigrants. In this pioneer lesson, students read the letters and diaries of a fictitious family traveling on the Oregon Trail. They mark their route on a US map, create a chart showing...
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The Migrant Experience: The Great Depression

For Teachers 9th - 12th
Packing up and moving west to California was a tough decision for farmers in during the Great Depression. Nine text-rich slides contains information separated into six main categories related to the migrant experience. They'll discuss,...
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Eastern Indian Wars

For Students 5th - 12th Standards
Many know that Native Americans were forced off their lands and moved west, but how did these people react? The Red Sticks faction of the Creek nation opted to defend themselves and their lands in a series of wars called the Eastern...
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Go West With Columbus

For Teachers K - 5th
Students play a board game where their tokens must move Columbus west. They choose cards which give commands to move in a coordinate direction. They practice moving west, north, east, south by playing the game.
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Manifest Destiny

For Teachers 4th - 6th
Students explore the Manifest Destiny. They interpret quotations, study point of view in writing, research English words that derived from Mexico, and analyze reasons why settlers moved west. After writing journal entries in first-person...
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Bud the Spud Moves West

For Teachers 9th - 12th
As part of a unit on Canadian agriculture, this focuses on how potato farms have increased in the west. Pupils participate in a discussion about the impact of consumer demand on production, and then they read an article about potato...
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The American Revolution: Moving West and South

For Teachers 6th - 8th
Students examine several letters to the editor from both a local newspaper and national newspapers. After reviewing current letters, they write a letter to the editor of an 18th-century newspaper expressing their opinion about the...
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Survival Challenge: Would You Make It?

For Teachers 5th - 6th
Students face a challenge. In this survival lesson, students discover the hardships faced by the pioneers who moved west and see if they would survive a similar situation. They discuss essential items they need to survive and...
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Images and Audio from the Dust Bowl

For Teachers 7th - 12th
Supplement a lecture or class discussion on the Dust Bowl of the 1930s with a series of primary-source photographs. The presentation includes 39 moving images that depict the reality of the Great Depression and the lives of those...
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Moving West with the Forts: Using an Interactive Map

For Teachers 7th
Seventh graders practice reading maps and locating the forts stationed in Texas. Using the internet, they analyze westward movements from statehood to the Civil War. In groups, they complete a worksheet about the forts and share their...
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Moving West With Pioneers

For Teachers 5th
Fifth graders read a book written by Laura Ingalls Wilder to examine the hardships that were endured by pioneers traveling during the Westward Expansion of the US. They predict, summarize and participate in literature circles. They visit...
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Moving West!

For Teachers 3rd - 5th
Students explore, explain and experience the importance of good character traits in everyday life by assessing the challenging journeys traveled on the Oregon Trail. They study the daily accounts of perseverance and courage along the trail.
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The Railroads: The First Transcontinental Railroad

For Teachers 9th - 11th
The move West was greatly effected by the first transcontinental railroad. Present your class with well-organized information regarding major causes, players, and effects the railroad had on the face of an expanding America. Note: A...
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Going West

For Teachers K - 2nd
Now this sounds like a fun lesson! Youngsters learn about pioneer life and the Westward Movement. First, they listen to the Copland's "Appalachian Spring," and then they discuss the elements of music found in the piece. They get into...
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Oregon Trail Diary

For Teachers 5th - 11th
Students write a diary. In this writing and creativity lesson, students pretend they are moving west and keep a diary about their adventures. Students study real-life scenarios about families who made the trip out west before writing...
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Moving West

For Teachers 1st - 5th
Students research the Westward Movement and struggles encountered by the pioneers as they moved from Nebraska, Westward along the Oregon Trail. In this Westward Expansion instructional activity, students read an Oregon Trail poem and...
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African Americans and the Move West

For Teachers 6th - 8th
Students examine the phases of westward migration in the United States during the 19th century focusing on the incentives that led many African Americans to make the move.
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Going Westward: Getting Ready, On the Trail and Settling the Claim

For Teachers 3rd
Third graders work in small "family" groups. They participate in a group discussion about reasons people were moving west, and the finality of leaving home. They look at maps of the west and a pioneer travel guide. The families discuss...
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Mountain Vista

For Teachers 1st - 6th
Young scholars participate in a role play activity in which they play an American pioneer moving west. During the role play, they select an occupation and a town to live in. In groups, they use a map to determine the best route to arrive...
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African-Americans in California's Heartland

For Teachers 6th - 8th
Students read and view video about the pioneers moving west.  In this African American pioneer lesson, students become familiar with the problems faced by the pioneers and African-American pioneers. Students complete worksheets and...
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African Americans and the Move West

For Teachers 6th - 8th
Students examine the phases of the migration west and analyze the incentives for African Americans to move.They create a timeline of migration to the west along with charts depicting the changes in demographics of areas at selected...
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Moving West with the Forts: Using an Interactive Map

For Teachers 5th - 8th
Students discern a map of Texas and it's forts in the early to mid-1800's. From this map they analyze movement from the moment Texas became a state to its involvement in the Civil War.