Lesson Plan

Westward Expansion

Students will draw on information about the Westward Expansion of America, given multiple primary source documents, music, videos and photographs in order to form and understanding and analysis of the economic opportunities provided along with the hardshi
Fran M.
Classroom teacher
Chesnee Elementary School
Chesnee, SC
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My Grades 5
My Subjects English Language Arts, Social Studies

Students will be able to describe different means of tra


English Language Arts
reading fluency
reading comprehension
Social Studies
the economy
Grades 5
All Notes
Teacher Notes
Student Notes

1 Essential Question

America is  Expanding West to seek economic opportunities but settlers  face many challenges.

Student Instructions

Open with a short video on pioneers moving west and begin discussion on methods they traveled, reasons, and outcomes.

2 Instruction

Using Nearpod interactive presentation

What were the different transportation during this time.  Land-Train/wagon/stagecoach/horse/walking      Water-Ship around S.America

Discuss the meaning of homesteading and why people were moving to the West.- 

Read over Homestead Act of 1862- Abraham Lincoln

Using physical map of the US-discuss the weather/geography of the land and issues the might have caused.

Show students the different routes someone could take by wagon or stagecoach and discuss the advantages/disadvantages.

Students explore the different routes and cost that someone could take by boat and discuss the advantages and disadvantages.

Student Instructions

Students are in "family groups" that are traveling West. They will explore ways and means of getting there and decide as a "family"  the route to take.

3 Explore

Teacher will facilitate as students explore more historical stories and events of people moving west in the 1860s


Student Instructions

Students will read and watch short video clips  from PBS American Experience to explore more about moving west in the 1860s.


4 Practice/Create

Teacher will invite students to participate in creating an eduCreation of the decision their "family" will travel west.

Student Instructions

"Families" will work together to create a presentation of their decision on the best way to get West including: method of travel, hardships, duration, and outcome. 

5 Wrap up/Presentations

Teacher allows students to present their findings on the way their "family" will travel west.

Teacher opens up Today's Meet 

After presenting & watching other presentations, 

Student Instructions

Students present their educreation to the class.


Students respond to Today's Meet question.