Virtual Field Trips — Wagons West
For Grades 3-6
Come with us on a journey to the Oregon Territory! We start with an auction where your “family” will bid on necessary items for your trek west. The students will make all the decisions themselves before we set out on our trip and then, as we progress over the course of the hour, find out if they made wise choices. Using maps, a slide show and video clips, we will look at several landmarks along the way and calculate how far we have traveled. The students will find out what it was really like to travel across the Great Plain, rivers and mountains to finally arrive in Oregon City.
South Carolina Social Studies Standard (4-5.2):
Explain the motives for the exploration in the West and the push for westward expansion, including the concept of manifest destiny, economic opportunities in trade, and the availability of rich land.
South Carolina Social Studies Standard (5-2.1)
Analyze the geographic and economic factors that influenced westward expansion and the ways that these factors affected travel and settlement, including physical features of the land; the climate and natural resources; and land ownership and other economic opportunities.
National US History Social Studies Standards (NSS-USH.5-12.3 ERA 3)
Revolution and the New Nation (1754-1820s)
National US History Social Studies Standards (NSS-USH.5-12.4 ERA 4)
Expansion and Reform (1801-1864)
Click here for the .pdf file containing all the printable materials you’ll need for your Virtual Field Trip.
If your class is 24 students or less, divide them into three groups. If there are 25 to 32 students, divide them into four groups. Each group will become a family that is traveling the Oregon Trail: The Ellis family, Steiner family, McCoy family and (if you have four groups) the Ingalls family.
Included in the downloadable file are sheets of money that are authentic to the time period. Print out one sheet of each denomination for each of your groups. Each family will have a total of $125 to use in the auction where the students will decide which items they want to bring with them on their journey along the Oregon Trail.
The downloadable file also includes a diagram showing how we recommend setting up the classroom for your virtual field trip. We would like as many students as possible visible on screen during the lesson. If your space does not allow a setup like this, place chairs for each family spokesperson at the front of the room near the microphone so at least those students will be seen and heard.
We will start our video conference with a live auction. One of the pages in the PDF includes a list of items available at the auction as well as a list of supplies that each family will already have. Please allow 5 or 10 minutes before the video conference to allow each group to look over the list of auction items and discuss their strategy for what to buy and how much they are willing to spend on each item. The auction goes very fast, and they will not have much time for discussion during the lesson.
Please print out one or more copy of the files for EACH group to have at their table. (You may want to print multiple copies of each page for each group so that everyone in the group can see the page.)
Each group should assign the following jobs within their family:
• One Spokesperson - this person will do the bidding at the auction and should be visible to the camera at all times
• Two Bankers – One will handle the money and the other will document the purchases. Bankers should have the 'Auction Purchases' sheet, and the money
• Navigators – The other family members can serve as Navigators. They should have the 'List of Places Along the Way' and the 'Along the Trail' sheets
What You’ll Need: