Kansas City Young Audiences
Teacher Program Guide
Life on the Oregon Trail: A Pioneer Woman’s Story
A r ti st : Re be cca De mp sey
Inside this guide:
Preparing a family to move gling immigrant families brought
Workshop over 2,400 miles is not an easy task. with them as they faced challenges
It was even more challenging to in the American West. The stu-
Educational travel to a unknown home at the dents will experience history hands-
Artist Bio end of the Oregon Trail in 1850. on as Rebecca allows the students
Rebecca Dempsey created to explore some of her “belongings”
this workshop to help children ex- that she has brought with her to
List of Resources plore the lives of their peers travel- make the arduous journey.
Post-Workshop ing through the American frontier. Rebecca’s pioneer character
Activities She gives a face to these people by brings this era alive with folk tales,
portraying the mother of two chil- songs, and games that pioneer chil-
dren looking to dren would have
homestead at the played. The work-
Contact KCYA for end of the Oregon shop concludes
more information on Trail. with a question
this and other Rebecca and answer session
programs. brings with her an in which students
extensive knowl- can express their
816-531-4022 edge of the cus- curiosity and gain
www.kcya.org toms, cultures, additional insight
hopes, and aspira- into this American
tions these strug- experience.
Educational Objectives and Standards
Special Points of Interest:
Students will: National History Standards: Rebecca Dempsey graduated Magna Cum
• Explore how they might have • Understand the broadly de- Laude from William Jewell College. She
lived in the mid-1800’s fined areas of state and local has performed in many musical productions
historical events including Brigadoon, Fiddler on the Roof,
• Learn of the hardships immi- and Steel Magnolias.
grant pioneers experienced, Theater Standards:
in particular the difficult role • Identifies people, events, time,
women had to fill in these Cleared, open space.
and place in classroom drama-
Artist Bio: Rebecca Dempsey
Rebecca Dempsey has A professional actress,
worked with students from pre- Rebecca performs in television
school to high school since and radio commercials, corpo-
1970. She writes, directs, and rate training videos, films, and
teaches workshops for children live theater. Rebecca combines
in Kindergarten through fifth her love of teaching children
grade. with her joy in acting through
Rebecca has acted in this KCYA workshop.
more than 50 productions since Rebecca is also a skilled
1993 and has directed youth in musician who can play hand
five musicals. Rebecca also bells and sight-read vocal mu-
worked with a group that sic. She is adept at British and
played improv games with chil- Cockney dialects and can cry
dren for many years. on cue.
Vocabulary List of Resources
Abolitionist: a reformer who Meet the Elephant: phrase BOOKS
favors abolishing slavery derived from folk tale about Trinklein, Michael J.
Fantastic Facts about the Oregon Trail.
hardship and gaining satisfac- Boettcher/Trinklein, 1995
Cholera: One of several dis- tion from the challenge.
eases affecting the digestive “Everyone who crossed the Parkman, Francis, Brandt, Anthony
and intestinal tract and more or Plains had their own elephant.” (Introduction), Earhart, Amelia.
less dangerous to life The Oregon Trail.
National Geographic. 2002
Overlanders: People who
Contrary: resistant to guidance travel over lands or countries MUSIC
or discipline, very opposed in The Trail Band.
nature or character or purpose Retaliation: action taken in Voices from The Oregon Trail
return for an injury or offense (Original Score Recording).
Trails End Prod., 2000
Lolly-gaggin’: to procrastinate,
to take a lackadaisical approach SOFTWARE
to completing a task or chore Oregon Trail Fifth Editon. MAC OS,
The Learning Company, 2001.
1. Draw a map of the United States Kansas entered the Union, dis-
from Missouri to the Pacific covery of gold at Sutter’s Mill,
Ocean. Color code areas for the the Civil War, and each Presi-
homelands of the different Na- dent’s term in office
tive American tribes who popu- 3. Make up a game for a group of
lated the Oregon Trail children that uses only them-
2. Make a timeline of the 19th cen- selves or materials that would
tury, 1800-1900. Mark these have been available to pioneers
events on the timeline: Louisiana on the Oregon Trail in the 1850s.
Purchase, Lewis and Clarks Ex- Play the game, then try to im-
pedition, when Missouri and prove upon it.
Contact KCYA for more information about this and other programs · (816) 531-4022 · www.kcya.org Page 2