Westward Expansion

Millcreek Elementary School
5th grade

September 2001


How has the Westward Expansion changed our lives?

Essential Questions

1. Why were Americans attracted to the western frontier?

2. Which problems that led to settling the 13 Colonies were similar to the problems that led to settling the West?

3. How did the physical environment of the West affect settlement patterns of Americans?

a. Positive Ways

b. Negative Ways

4. What kinds of transportation were available and how did their limits affect settlements in the West?

5. What were the economic advantages and disadvantages (factors) that led people to the West?

6. How did the various cultures in the West interact with each other?

Academic Expectations and Core Content

2.17 Students interact effectively and work cooperatively with the many diverse ethnic and cultural groups of our nation and world

SS-E-2.4.1 As cultures emerge and develop, conflict and competition may occur.

SS-E-2.4.2 Compromise and cooperation are tools for social interaction.

2.18 Students understand economic principles and are able to make economic decisions that have consequences in daily life.

SS-E-3.31 A market exists whenever buyers and sellers exchange goods and services. Prices and availability of goods and services are determined by supply and demand.

SS-E-3.32 The direct exchange of goods and services is called barter. Money has generally replaced barter as a more efficient system for exchange.

2.19 Students recognize and understand the relationship between people and geography and apply their knowledge in real-life situations.

SS-E-4.3.2 Humans usually settle where there are adequate resources to meet their needs (e.g., areas with water, fertile land, protected land, different modes of transportation)

SS-E-4.4.3 The physical environment both promotes and limits human activities (e.g., mountains as barriers or as protection, rivers used as boundaries or transportation routes).

2.20 Students understand, analyze, and interpret historical events, conditions, trends, and issues to develop historical perspective.

SS-E-5.2.2 People explored and settled America and Kentucky for multiple reasons (e.g., freedoms, opportunities, fleeing negative situations).

SS-E-5.2.3 The way we live has changed over time for both Kentuckians and Americans because of changes in many areas (e.g., communication, innovations/inventions, homes, transportation, recreation, traditions, education).

SS-E-5.2.4 The study of U.S. history is categorized into broad historical periods and eras (Westward Expansion).

Culminating Activity:

Each fifth grade student will create a brochure outlining what he or she has learned throughout the unit. The brochure will contain evidence that the students have understood and mastered the answers to the essential questions.


Scoring Guide: Brochure


  • Shows complete understanding of content
  • Answers all parts of the question accurately and realistically
  • Consistency and creativity of design adds to the quality brochure (illustrations, neatness, and color scheme)
  • Effective, organized and detailed brochure
  • Pictures and graphics support content and are relevant
  • Correct spelling, grammar, and punctuation


  • Shows general understanding of content
  • Answers all parts of the questions; minimal errors do not distract from the overall product (brochure)
  • Some consistency and/or creativity of design adds to a good brochure (text, readability, and color scheme)
  • Well organized content in brochure
  • Pictures and graphics support content and are relevant
  • Few spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors


  • Shows basic understanding of content
  • Answers most parts of the question; errors distract from the brochure
  • Some consistency or creativity of design lead to an adequate presentation (text, readability, and color scheme)
  • Some organization present
  • Pictures and graphics do not support content
  • Spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors distract from presentation


  • Shows minimal understanding of content
  • Answers some of the questions; error present
  • Little consistency or creativity of design
  • Ineffective and unorganized brochure
  • Pictures or graphics, if any, do not enhance presentation
  • Many spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors make brochure confusing

Skills & Processes

Technology Standards

T4.4 Locate information using the Internet

T4.7 Locate information from application software (timeline)

T5.2 Evaluate information using electronic references

T5.2.4 Use appropriate bibliographic citations for electronic resources

T5.3 Evaluate information from the Internet

T6.5 Create a presentation or product using application software.

T2.1 Process information in an ethical manner in real world situations


Week 1

Attractions to West

Comparisons to 13 Colonies

Week 2

Physical Environment

Week 3

Transportation Industrial Revolution

Essential Question #1

Essential Question #2

  • P.344-347; HBSS
  • P.173-183; History Alive
  • P.357; HBSS: Simulation activity
  • Pioneer Sample: Daily Life of a Pioneer Family in 1840; Greenwood, Barbara
  • Cassie’s Journey: Going West in the 1830’s; Harvey, Brett

Essential Question #3

  • P.161-171; History Alive
  • P.353-357; HBSS
  • P.183-196; DWOK
    • Math Activities
    • Webbing
    • Literature Connection
    • Geography Connection
    • Writing Connection: Learning to Take Notes
  • P.6; Lesson Guide 3; History Alive: Moving Simulation
  • Make a Relief Map

Essential Question #4

  • P.373-382; HBSS
    • Writing a newspaper front page using Microsoft Publisher; p. 377
  • P.227-238; DWOK
    • Math Connection
    • Open Forum
    • Community Connection

Week 4



Week 5

Various Cultures Review/



Essential Question #5

  • Ox-cart Man
  • Arthur’s Christmas - Lesson #3
  • Econ and Me – Consumption and Production
  • Consumption charades
  • "I am a consumer!"
  • Econ says
  • Cinquain producers
  • Milk production booklet
  •   Newspaper scavenger hunt

Essential Question #6

  • Alexander, Who Use to be Rich Last Sunday
  • "Shopping Spree" - Online
  • Arthur’s Computer Disaster - Lesson #4
  • "What kind of shopper are you?" p. 37-39; Consumer Math
  • "Piggy’s Story" – Saving & Spending; Consumer Math p. 28-31


Pre/Post Test

(100 pts)

Name_______________________ Date________________

Multiple Choice: circle one letter

  1. Which of the following was not a reason why Americans headed out west.

  1. Make friends with Indians
  2. Religious persecution freedom
  3. Gold
  4. Cheap land
  1. One of the first thing pioneer families had to do when they moved to the western frontier was to:

    1. Build adobe houses
    2. Build missions
    3. Clear thick forests 
    4. Set up a government


  2. How did the Louisiana Purchase change the United States?
  1. It cut the size of the U.S. in half.
  2. It outlawed slavery in all states east of Louisiana.
  3. It doubled the size of the country.
  4. It increased the number of states in the country to 14.
  1. The Lewis and Clark Expedition helped later pioneers by:
  1. Building the national highway
  2. Mapping passes through the Rocky Mountains
  3. Finding a route to the Atlantic Ocean
  4. Clearing the Cumberland Gap
  1. Which mode of transportation was most used by the pioneers?
  1. Airplanes
  2. Conestoga wagons
  3. Railroads
  4. Flat boats
  1. Which of the following statements best describes the idea of "manifest destiny"?
  1. All Americans should have the right to vote.
  2. All American women should have the right to own property.
  3. The United States should stretch from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean.
  4. All American Indians should live in the land west of the Mississippi River.
  1. Forty-Niners were people who:
  1. Wanted to end slavery
  2. Traveled on the Oregon Trail
  3. Went to California to search for gold
  4. Supported the idea of states’ rights
  1. Who was responsible for forcing the Cherokee Indians off of their land and on to the ‘Trail of Tears’?
  1. John Calhoun
  2. James Monroe
  3. John Marshall
  4. Andrew Jackson
  1. What did the United States gain from the Mexican War?
  1. Canada and all its resources
  2. Mississippi River and its territories
  3. A solution to the Texas border dispute
  4. The Statue of Liberty
  1. Which of the following groups of people were largely responsible for building the railroads to the West?
  1. Chinese
  2. Slaves
  3. Mexicans
  4. Pioneers


Fill in the Blank: Choose a word from the vocabulary box below and write it in the appropriate sentence.







1. The belief that the United States could and should expand across the continent is called ________________________.

2. A feeling of pride in your country is called ________________________________.

3. Large regions of land are called ______________________.

4. A person who first settles a new place is called a ____________________________________.

5. The ‘outer edge’ of anything is called the _______________________________.

6. Because the removal of the Cherokee Indians in 1838 caused so much suffering, the journey is known as ______________________________________.

7. Adding territories to the United States is known as _____________________________.

8. _________________________ is the process of exchanging goods with others.

9. _________________________ offered many chances to make money and were filled with people just arriving from the East

10. The _________________________________ cost $15 million and doubled the size of the United States.


1. You are working for a large claims company in the late 1700’s. Your boss wants you to convince as many people as possible to move out West so that business will pick up. Write a persuasive paragraph convincing your readers to move. Include at least three reasons.

2. You are a pioneer boy or girl. As you head out west with your family in your Conestoga wagon, you encounter people different from you along the way. Describe at least two different kinds of people and what you might have learned from them.

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