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Westward Expansion: Pioneers' Lives for Upper Grades

These sites focus on the American westward expansion during the 1800s. Includes information about the men, women, and children who moved west. Discover the hardships they faced while moving west and how they adapted to these changes. There are diaries, letters, journals, maps, and lesson plans. Also included are eThemes resources on Westward Expansion: Trails West, Hardships, Pioneers of the Frontier, Pioneer Life: Settling on the Homestead, and The Effects on Native Americans.


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Read letters and diaries documenting a journey to the Oregon trail. NOTE: This site includes ads.
Read first-hand accounts of the Oregon Trail journey written years after the fact. Learn about the decisions of moving to the west and what happened during the journey. NOTE: This site includes ads and links to external sites.
Read the trail stories that the pioneers wrote about their travels to Oregon, California, Utah, Montana, and other western locations. Click the "Trail Facts" from the menu to learn more about many interesting facts.
This unit has lesson plans that use Laura Ingalls Wilder's book series to learn about life of pioneers moving to the west.
Read some hardships people faced during the Oregon Trail. NOTE: This site includes ads.
This site is a K-12 education project designed for students to learn about experiences of pioneers along the Mormon Trail. Includes biographies, maps, journals, and more. Click "Classroom Activities" for lesson plan ideas that go along with the unit. NOTE: This site has links to external sites.
A nine-page pdf lesson plan focuses on the life and hardships on the Oregon-California and the Santa Fe Trails. Activities are based on Harriet Palmer's Journey on the Oregon-California Trial and Marion Sloan's Journey on the Santa Fe Trail.
These lesson plans are a part of Frontier House series by PBS. Scroll down to find lesson plans by grade levels. The lesson plans focus on the life of pioneers living in the American West during the late 19th century. NOTE: This site includes ads.
These sites are about the Santa Fe, Overland, California, and the Mormon Pioneer trails. See pictures of the West in the 1800s and study maps of the trails. Read about life along the trails. Includes eThemes resources on the Oregon Trail and covered wagons. Watch a video on Arrow Rock, a stopping point on the way West.
These sites are about the various hardships the pioneers faced as they traveled to the West. The types of problems include the weather, accidents while on the trail, and diseases. Read personal narratives and stories.
These sites focus on the American westward expansion during the 1800s. Includes information about the men, women, and children who came west. Learn about Kit Carson, Marcus and Narcissa Whitman, Daniel Boone, and more. Read about reasons immigrants came to America. There is a Missouri Heritage video about Westward expansion. Also included is an eThemes resource on Mormon pioneers and hardships faced by pioneers.
These sites are about daily life on the frontier. Learn about frontier towns and the chores and games that the pioneers participated in. Read the original Homestead Act that prompted many people to move West. Includes videos and historical photographs. There are links to eThemes Resources on pioneer food, sod houses, and hardships along the Oregon Trail.
These sites are about the effect of the westward movement on Native Americans. Learn about the changes in relationships between emigrants and Native Americans as well as Native Americans' lives before and after the westward movement. Includes interview transcripts, primary documents, images, audio clips, lesson plans, suggested reading, and more. There are also links to eThemes Resources on Westward Expansion: Trails West, Native American Culture, and Literature: "Dear America" Native American Experience Books.

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