For the past few weeks, the girls have been doing a unit on the Oregon Trail. They’ve learned why people moved West, when and where pioneers started, how long the journey West took, what was needed to travel along the Oregon Trail, dangers the pioneers encountered and other basic information about traveling on the Oregon Trail. They spent about 10 days learning about the Donner Party.
They did an Oregon Trail lapbook and worked on two different sets of notebook pages.
The girls read two “Dear America” books about the Oregon Trail (and the Donner Party). They are both written in a “journal” style. The first is called The Journal of Douglas Allen Deeds: The Donner Party Expedition. (affiliate link) It is the (fictional) journal of a young man on the Donner Party. It really does a great job of explaining what it was like, who they encountered, dangers they faced, and introduced the kids to some of the “real” people who were on the ill-fated Donner Party. It touches on the sad ending but is not gruesome (I found it appropriate for my 9-year old.) The other book is one we read years ago called Across the Wide and Lonesome Prairie: The Oregon Trail Diary of Hattie Campbell. (affiliate link) Again, it was a big hit. My girls really loved both of these books. Our family highly recommends these!
Another day, they cut out the lapbook pieces and put their lapbook together (writing in some extra information).
Often with a lapbook, the file folder is folded like this:
Instead of folding the file folder, we kept it normal because they stored the two sets of notebook pages inside. You can also just glue the pieces onto a regular 8×11 piece of paper and add it to a 3-ringed notebook.
Here is what the front looked like:
Here is the inside of the Oregon Trail lapbook:Once ED (who reads more slowly than her older Sis) finished the book about the Donner Trail Expedition, we went over the Donner Party notebook pages. These go along with the book that we read, though you do not need to have read the book to use them with your students.
Answer pages are included as well!
The Oregon Trail Packet is about 20 pages. It is $3.00
Once you pay for this packet, you will immediately receive a link to download this file (which will open in a browser window). You will also receive an email from Sendowl (the service I use) to your PayPal email address, which will have a link you can click on to download the Cell unit. (It will say, “You can download your digital products…” with a clickable link.) Of course, if you have any issues just email me at — liesl at homeschoolden dot com. You can also reach me by using the contact form on the blog.
Don’t forget to check your PayPal email address for the download link!
If you want to study U.S. Territorial Growth, the War with Mexico, and the growing tensions over slavery, be sure to check out our unit on Slavery and the Civil War.
Our 75+ page packet includes notebook pages, maps, charts, review cards and some of the resources we used for this unit. It includes extensive teacher notes.
Our unit actually consisted of three parts: Slavery, Territorial Growth, and the Civil War. This is the first time we’ve covered these topics in depth (up until now, I dragged my feet because of the age of my youngest). This year, it was time to look at the sad history of our country.
We read a number of books and watched documentaries and films as we delved into these main topics (see this post for more information):
- Slavery – a bit about the history of West Africa, the trans-Atlantic slave trade and the Middle Passage, and slavery in America
- Territorial Growth – As America acquired more territory, the issue of slavery became more divisive. We spent quite a bit of time looking as the slow growth of America — from the late 1700s with the Mason-Dixon Line and Northwest Ordinance which banned slavery north of the Ohio River… through the various compromises of the 1800s Missouri Compromise, Compromise of 1850 and the War with Mexico/Mexican Cession
- Civil War – We talked about the difference between the North and South, which states joined the Confederacy, the North and South’s plans for winning the war, some of the major military and political leaders, and learned some of the highlights of the major battles.