Area 2: Early Growth of the United States (1800-1850s)
Question: Why do peoples and societies explore, relocate, and settle frontiers?
Lesson Plan Developed By
Michael Redman, St. Stephens Indian School, St. Stephens, Wyo.
- Students will gain a fuller understanding of the geography of the Oregon Trail and the hardships and dangers faced by its early travelers.
- Students will gain a fuller understanding of how the trail brought European Americans into the North American West.
- Students will come to understand the trail’s various routes and uses across what became Wyoming, including the Oregon Trail, the California Trail and the Mormon Trail.
- Students will consider larger questions: What difference did the trail make in how the United States grew in the 1800s? Why did people make the journey?
Click here to see a spreadsheet aligning Wyoming State Social Studies and Common Core Standards for this and other digital toolkits of Wyoming History.
We will update the standards spreadsheet as more lesson plans are developed.
One 90-Minute class period or
two 45-minute class periods
Oregon Trail, History.com.
Trails Across Wyoming: The Oregon, Mormon Pioneer and California Routes WyoHistory.org.
- 5 minutes: Doorbell question-what comes to mind when you hear the words “Oregon Trail”?
Step by step directions
- 45 minutes: Students will study the two maps, read the two articles and watch the short Britannica.com video.
- 10 minutes: Define 8 vocabulary words: missionaries, Mormon trail, settlers, mule train, survive, Manifest Destiny, Christianity, emigrant.
- 10 minutes: students will create/write their own complete sentences using 5 vocabulary words.
- 10 minutes: Students will have a 10 minute discussion.
- 5 minutes: Students will complete their KWL chart.
- 5 minutes: Whole group discussion of what students have learned.