Thursday, March 6, 2014

Westward Expansion Unit Study

This 6 week unit study takes us from the end of the American Revolution, to the late 1800’s (We skipped the Civil War, because we’ll be doing a 6 week study of that war starting in March.)   We’ve covered The Lewis & Clark Expedition,the War of 1812,  the first 15 U.S. Presidents, the Homestead Act, the Oregona Trail,  the Alamo and lots of other interesting pieces of history, including a  Mississippi River Mini Unit.  As always, we have an extensive library reading list at the bottom of my post.   However, this time I also have some wonderful, free online resources for you to use and enjoy.

Lewis & Clark Lapbook, from Tina’s Dynamic Homeschool.
Fauna of the West, from Tina’s Dynamic Homeschool.
Flora of the West, from Tina’s Dynamic Homeschool
On the Trail Cuisine; from Home Baking Association
Oregon Trail Lapbook, from Tina’s Dynamic Homeschool
Oregon Trail Lapbook, from Lapbook Lessons
Westward Expansion Coloring Pages, from USA Printables

Below are a few of the activities we have worked on in this unit.

Lewis & Clark lapbooks.


We made some pretty awesome moccasins.  I included a tutorial in my post Making Moccasins.

Oral Presentation and Moccasins 079

We used these American Animals Flashcards ($1 bin at Target) to study some of the new animals Lewis & Clark met on their journey. 


We worked on a mini-unit on the Mississippi River and learned about the ecosystems, water cycle and traveling by waterway.


We studied the Alamo during the time of the siege and over throw. (February 23-March 6).


We made Oregon Trail lapbooks, and watched the movie “Seven Alone”.



No westward expansion study would be complete without covered wagons.  I had 4 kits, planning to let each child make 2 wagons.  Interesting enough all the kits were missing parts, so by the time we were finished we had enough for 2 complete wagons (glad I bought extra).

Have you ever seen the movie “Paint Your Wagon”?…neither has Olivia, but maybe it would have caused a more realistic looking wagon.  My husband assures me that the Indians wouldn’t attack such a colorful wagon, they’d think it was bad medicine.  I say it’s a sitting duck on the open prairie.


The Lego people, and their belongs are all loaded up and ready for the 6 month trip west.  The lack of oxen to pull the wagons may slow down progress a bit.


Library Resources:
Lewis & Clark The Journey of the Corps of Discovery; DVD by PBS Home Video
Lewis & Clark Great Journey West; DVD by National Geographic
Sacagawea, Heroine of the Lewis & Clark Journey; DVD by Questar, Inc..
Lewis and Clark American Explorers; by Arlene Bourgeois Molzahn
Lewis and Clark, In Their Own Words; by George Sullivan
The Lewis and Clark Journals; by E.J. Carter
The Lewis & Clark Expedition; by Carol A. Johmann
The Lewis and Clark Expedition 1804-1806; by Dan Lacy
Lewis and Clark and the Route to the Pacific; by Seamus Cavan
Lewis and Clark for Kids; by Janis Herbert
Lewis and Clark Explore the Northwest; by Clint Twist
The Lewis and Clark Trail, Then and Now; by Dorothy Hinshaw Patent
Sacajawea, Shoshone Trailblazer; by Diane Shaughnessy
Who Was Sacagawea?; by Judith Bloom Fradin
Sacajawea; by Joseph Bruchac
Sacajawea Wilderness Guide; by Kate Jassem
Daniel Boone, Frontiersman; by Janet & Geoff Benge
Daniel Boone; by Laurie Lawlor
Tall Tales & Legends, Davey Crockett; DVD by Shelley Duvall
Davy Crockett, A Life on the Frontier; by Stephen Krensky
Davy Crockett, Hero of the Wild Frontier; by Elizabeth R. Moseley
Davy Crockett, Defender of the Alamo; by William R. Sandord and Carl R. Green
The War of 1812; by Rebecca Stefoff
A Timeline of the War of 1812; by Sandra Giddens
The Star Spangled Banner Pop Up Book; by Calvert Gamwell
Pony Express Riders of the Wild West; by Jeff Savage
The Pony Express; by Elaine Landau
The Alamo; DVD (John Wayne version)
The Alamo; by Tamara L. Britton
The Alamo; by Tim McNeese
The Homestead Act; by Elaine Landau
Pioneers; by Dennis Fradin
The Pioneers Go West; by George R. Stewart
Pioneers, A Library of Congress Book; by Martin Sandler
Covered Wagons, Bumpy Trails; by Verla Kay
Wagon Trains and Settlers; by Ellen H. Todras
The Oregon Trail; by Jean Blashfield
The Oregon Trail; by Mel Fried
The Oregon Trail; by Steven P. Olson
Children of the Trail West; by Holly Littlefield
Apples to Oregon; by Deborah Hopkins
Across the Wide and Lonesome Prairie, The Oregon Trail Diary of Hattie Campbell; by Kristiana Gregory

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1 comment:

  1. We are just beginning our westward expansion study. Thanks for giving me some more great ideas to include!


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