contributed by an
published on: 3/12/2010
Contributing Teacher(s): Teresa Huntress
Social Studies/U.S. History Grade Range: Upper Elementary (4-5) Materials Needed:
Grade Range: Upper Elementary (4-5)
- How the people of the United States adapt to, modify, and use their physical environment.
- How various ethnic groups played a role in helping develop the United States.
- How the California Gold Rush impacted the land and people of the Western culture.
- What role did your research topic play in the westward expansion of the United States?
- Goal 1.1 develop questions and ideas to initiate and refine research
- Goal 1.2 conduct research to answer questions and evaluate information and ideas
- Goal 1.4 use technological tools and other resources to locate, select and organize information
- Goal 2.1 plan and make written, oral and visual presentations for a variety of purposes and audiences
- Social Studies 2. Continuity and change in the history of Missouri, the United States and the world
Time Allowance: 90-minute block activities for six days. Additional 30-minute research time may be given as needed.
- ESL students will need to be grouped according to language acquisition needs.
- Title 1 students may access assistance from push-in aide.
- Students with articulation difficulties may use the recording feature of PowerPoint to pre-record their portion of the presentation.
Description: All students will play a contributing part in creating a presentation about aspects of Westward Expansion.
Standards (Performance, Knowledge and NETS-S)
Learners will be able to:
SS 2a.E: Investigate the causes and consequences of Westward expansion, including the Gold Rush.
In Communication Arts, students in Missouri public schools will acquire a solid foundation which includes knowledge of and proficiency in:
- Writing formally (such as reports, narratives, essays) and informally (such as story-telling, debates, lectures, multi-media productions).
- Participating in formal and informal presentations and discussions of Issues and ideas.
NETS(S) – 3 Technology Productivity Tools
- Students use technology tools to enhance learning, Increase productivity and promote creativity.
- Students use productivity tools to collaborate in constructing technology-enhanced models, prepare publications and produce other creative works.
NETS(S) – 5 Technology research tools
- Students use technology to locate, evaluate and collect information from a variety of sources.
Criteria for Success (How will you know students have gained an understanding of the concepts?)
Summative Project – Westward Expansion
All students will play a contributing part in creating a presentation about aspects of Westward Expansion which may include but not limited to:
- How people adapt to their environment
- The movement of people, goods, and civilization
- Impact on the land and people
- Various roles of various ethnic groups
- Economic resources
- California Gold Rush
- Oral presentation
- Pamphlet/brochure advertisement
- Newspaper including ads and articles
- Research Paper and display
- Trivia Game
- Other teacher-approved activity
- Students will need a basic understanding of how to create a Smart Ideas product used to map their research project.
- Students will need to have prior knowledge of how to use the teacher’s Portaportal account.
Variety of books from both school library and public library
- The Forty-Niners: A Story of the Gold Rush by Cynthia Mercati
- The Journal of Wong Ming-Chung: a Chinese Miner by Laurence Yep
- The Way West: Westward, the Course of Empire Takes its Way, and Chief Joseph by Don McLeese
- California Gold Rush by Shirley Jordan
- The Native Americans: The Indigenous People of North America by Smithsonian Institute
- The Story of Lewis and Clark by Conrad Stain
- The Story of America: Freedom and Crisis from Settlement to Superpower by Weinstein and Rubel
- The California Gold Rush: 1848 – 1859
- California’s Untold Stories: Gold Rush - Oakland Museum of California
- Way Back: Gold Rush – Pbs Kids
- Lewis and Clark Heritage Foundation
- Lewis & Clark – Pbs
- Lewis and Clark Mandan Foundation
- National Oregon/California Trail Center
- From Gold Rush to Golden State: Chinese Laborers
- Chinese-American Contribution to Transcontinental Railroad
- People of the Gold Rush
- American Experience
Management (How will students share technology resources? How will teachers break up the lesson into segments—the number of hours or days?)
Students will participate in 90-minute block activities for six days. Additional 30-minute research time may be given as needed.
- Ask students to share the types of research they have ever been involved in to this point. How did they conduct the research (individually, in partners, in teams)?
- Ask students to describe the west – How did anyone know where to go & what they might do there?
- Show a short clip of the video Boom or bust: Mining and the Opening of the American West from United Streaming.
- Read excerpts from California Gold Rush by Shirley Jordan.
- Explain that all students will participate in a research project entitled “Westward Expansion”.
- As a class – brainstorm people, places and things associated with this topic.
- Each group will be required to submit one aspect of Westward Expansion they will choose to teach to the rest of the class at the end of the unit.
- Begin an initial exploration of expansion using teacher provided trade books, Encyclopedias, Maps, and selected websites accessible from teacher’s Portaportal Website.
- After a pre-determined time bring students back together for a review of their discoveries.
- Review brainstorming topics students created in previous session.
- Distribute scoring rubrics and discuss.
- Distribute schedule of events form and discuss possible due dates.
- Ask students to get into same interest groups to discuss possible final products each participant might be interested in creating.
- Once groups are formed and approved by the teacher, remind students of the class goal.
- Explain that each group will need to develop a set of questions that deals with their specific aspect of the Gold Rush. Example: What role did women play in the Gold Rush? Were there any famous women involved in the Gold Rush? Allow groups to begin initial research.
- Create a student research folder. Glue library book pockets to the folder. These will hold index cards with research information for each research question. Label each pocket with one question.
- Discuss with students the difference between “Fat questions” and “Skinny questions”.
For additional information contact :