Agenda April 6-10, 2020

Lesson 1 Westward Expansion (Begin April 6 – DUE April 17, 2020)

Hello students! The next few weeks will be a new adventure as we work together to learn in a remote setting. I will introduce a lesson here that you can work on for the week; then, we will go from there to see how we do and what adjustments we need to make. I realize you will have several other courses that you will be working on; so, my intent is to provide you with information that you can spend about 15-30 minutes a day studying. My email is and you can send me messages about specific questions or let me know your progress as you go. If something absolutely does not work, skip it and move on. The following is what we will start with in Unit 5 Westward Expansion, Industry, and Immigration…

*Update – Some students have discovered, and I have verified, that access to most of the information here can be accessed via a web browser on a Wii and XBOX. If you happen to try this and it works for you, please let me know! If you are successful on a Play Station or other gaming device let me know also… My email is –

UNIT 5 LESSON 1 – Learning Target:  Examine and analyze the effects of westward expansion on people and the environment, and explain how it changed life for various groups in the United States. (Priority Standards listed at the bottom of the lesson…)


Audio Notes (Listen to the notes if needed!)

Westward Expansion Audio


  • During and after the Civil War, many settlers began moving out west in search of a better life. As compared to earlier settlement, the journey was made less difficult with the railroad.
  • The need for railroads expanded rapidly between 1865 and 1890. Land grants were offered to two railroad companies willing to build a transcontinental rail system, which was completed on May 10, 1869 – Union Pacific Company & Central Pacific Company.
  • Two immigrant groups that were most responsible for the labor to build the transcontinental railroad were the Chinese and Irish.
  • The transcontinental railroad moved goods and people quickly across the country, contributed to the destruction of the buffalo herds, and developed time zones in the United States.
  • The Homestead Act offered settlers 160 acres of free land in exchange for farming the land for 5 years.
  • The combination of free land and new transport via the railroad led to increased expansion of the west.
  • Farmers and ranchers helped settle the west, created industries that are still an important part of American life, but their presence led to increased conflict with Native Americans.
  • The role of religion, how land should be owned and used, and educating the young for adulthood all resulted in conflict between white settlers and Native Americans.


  • Native Americans of the Great Plains depended on buffalo to survive, but railroads threatened this lifestyle.
  • For centuries, some Native Americans lived as farmers and hunters while others lived a nomadic life, following herds of buffalo.
  • Government officials wanted to ensure the safety of whites moving into Native American territory, the Great Plains.
  • American hunters slaughtered the buffalo to feed railroad crews and to prevent herds from blocking the trains. The buffalo were important to Native Americans as they used almost every part of it to help them survive.
  • Conflict between Native Americans and whites grew as Native Americans were forced onto reservations. For instance, Custer’s defeat at the Battle of the Little Big Horn led to a large push to place Native Americans on reservations. (WY – Wind River Reservation)
  • The U.S. policy of assimilation tried to force Native Americans to adopt white culture.
  • A battle at Wounded Knee was the last armed conflict between the U.S. government and Native Americans.


What opened the West to settlement & conflict?

  • Mining – Miners found gold in the West, leading to the creation of new states.
  • Railroads – Railroads transported gold and silver to market and brought supplies to the miners.
  • Settlers – Effects of the transcontinental railroad included ranchers and farmers moved west.
  • Natives – Native Americans became angered with the poor land and the government’s failure to deliver on promises, which led to widespread uprisings.


Unit 5 Fling the Teacher Westward Expansion & Conflict in the West

Unit 5 En Garde Westward Expansion


Oregon Trail Deluxe 1992

Dakota 38 (Video)

Westward Expansion Assessment (Full name, ID = Class period, Include your school email!)

Unit 5 Westward Expansion Quiz


8.2.2: Examine and evaluate how human expression (e.g. language, literature, arts, architecture, traditions, beliefs, and spirituality) contributes to the development and transmission of culture.
8.2.4: Explain the cultural contributions of and tensions between groups in Wyoming, the United States, and the World (e.g., racial, ethnic, social and institutional).
8.3.3 Describe the impact of technological advancements on production, distribution and consumption.
8.4.2: Describe how tools and technology in different historical periods impacted the way people lived, made decisions, and saw the world.
8.5.3: Explain how communities’ current and past demographics, migrations, and settlement
patterns influence place (e.g., culture, needs, and political and economic systems) and use this analysis to predict future settlement patterns.
8.5.4: Analyze the changes to and consequences of human, natural, and technological impacts on the physical environment.

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