Lesson Presented by: Steven P. Navarra
Content Area: Social Studies
Topic: Westward Expansion and the Oregon Trail
Time Frame: Two 30 minute periods
o Students will be able to explain what Westward Expansion is.
o Students will be able to identify why this movement west occurred.
o Students will be able to describe and explain the relationship between Westward
Expansion and the Oregon Trail.
Social Studies Standard 1: Students will use a variety of intellectual skills to demonstrate
their understanding of major ideas, eras, themes, developments and turning points in the
history of the United States.
English Language Arts Standard 1: Students will listen, speak, read and write for
information and understanding.
Mathematics, Science and Technology Standard 2: Students will access, generate,
process and transfer information using appropriate technologies.
Mathematics, Science and Technology Standard 7: Students will apply the knowledge of
thinking skills to address real-life problems and make informed decisions.
o Apple Ipad
o The Oregon Trail Game
o Smart Board
o Pictures via slideshow of people on the Oregon Trail
o Class set of textbooks
o KWL Chart
o Wagon worksheet
1) Teacher will ask students, “Imagine that your family was suddenly going to pack up their
belongings and move across the country. However, you can only pack whatever will fit
into your car. What kinds of things would you pack?” Students will share their thoughts.
2) Teacher will explain that in the 1840’s and 1850’s, families packed up and moved out
west, traveling along the Oregon Trail. However, these families didn’t have cars, so they
packed everything they could into a covered wagon, and they walked across the country
1) Teacher will ask students: “What do you think Westward Expansion is based on the meaning
of each of those words?” Explain to students that we classify history by events.
2) Teacher will show students pictures of the Oregon Trail on the Smart Board or overhead
projector, stopping throughout the slide show to discuss what students notice.
3) After the slideshow, students will fill out a KWL chart. As they come up with responses,
teacher will record their answers on the Smart Board. Using this information, students will
engage in an active discussion.
4) Using the iPad, students will play the game Oregon Trail to get a better understanding of life
in the 1800’s. Students will also be given the opportunity to learn about the geography, life and
culture of people living in the 1800’s from this game.
5) After completing the Oregon Trail game on the iPads, students will break up into groups of
two or three and discuss what they learned from the game Oregon Trail. They will write down
their answers in the “What We Learned” section of the KWL chart. Students will then share and
discuss their ideas with the class.
1) To close the lesson, teacher will revise motivational question: “If you and your family
made your trip in a covered wagon, what would you bring along with you? Think about
what you’ve seen while traveling the Oregon Trail. What did the families bring? What
were some things they had to leave behind?”
2) Students will be given a picture of a wagon used in the 1800’s. They will then be
instructed to fill the wagon with pictures of the items they would bring with them along
the Oregon Trail. Students will share with the class.
- Students’ answers to teacher directed questions
- Students’ participation in class discussion
- Students’ abilities to recall prior knowledge
- Students’ KWL Worksheet
- Students’ Wagon Worksheet
- Grouping heterogeneously
- Questioning techniques (Bloom’s Taxonomy)
- Use of PowerPoint Slides for visual learners
- Use of iPad technology for visual and kinesthetic learners
- Written response for linguistic learners (KWL Chart)
- Small group instruction (as needed)