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Travel the Trail

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Summary

Students will understand how inventions have changed our daily lives. Students will understand how the lives of individuals and families of the past are different from those of today.

Coin Type(s)

  • Quarter

Coin Program(s)

  • 50 State Quarters

Objectives

  • Students will understand how inventions have changed our daily lives.
  • Students will understand how the lives of individuals and families of the past are different from those of today.

Major Subject Area Connections

  • Language Arts
  • Social Studies

Grades

  • Second grade
  • Third grade

Class Time

Sessions: Three
Session Length: 30-45 minutes
Total Length: 91-120 minutes

Groupings

  • Whole group
  • Small groups
  • Individual work

Background Knowledge

Students should have a basic knowledge of:

  • Past and present
  • Journal writing
  • Comforts

Terms and Concepts

  • Pioneers
  • Inventions

Materials

  • Nebraska quarters (optional)
  • 1 overhead projector
  • 1 overhead transparency (or photocopy) of the “Nebraska Quarter Reverse” page
  • 1 overhead transparency of the “Inventions” page
  • “Nebraska quarter reverse” page
  • “Now and Then” worksheet
  • 1 class map of the United States
  • Chart paper
  • Markers
  • Copies of a text that gives basic information about life as a pioneer, such as:
    • Roughing It on the Oregon Trail by Diane Stanley
    • You Wouldn’t Want to Be an American Pioneer! by Jacqueline Morley
    • Children of the Frontier, I Can Read Book by Sylvia Whitman
    • Don’t Know Much About the Pioneers by Kenneth C. Davis
  • “Packing for the Trail” worksheet
  • “Journals of Chimney Rock” worksheet
  • Texts about life as a pioneer to use in a classroom library, such as:
    • Dandelions by Eve Bunting
    • Frontier Schools and School Teachers by Ryan P. Randolph
    • Life on a Pioneer Homestead by Sally Senzell Isaacs
    • Pioneers: Life as a Homesteader by Emily Raabe
    • Prairie Friends, I Can Read Book by Nancy Smiler Levinson
    • Prairie School, I Can Read Book by Avi
    • The Schoolchildren’s Blizzard by Marty Rhodes Figley
    • The Snow Walker by Margaret K. Wetterer

Preparations

  • Gather Nebraska quarters (1 per student) (optional)
  • Make copies of the following:
    • “Nebraska Quarter Reverse” page (1 per student)
    • “Now and Then” worksheet (1 per student)
    • “Packing for the Trail” worksheet (1 per student)
    • “Journals of Chimney Rock” worksheet (1 per student)
  • Make 1 overhead transparency of each of the following:
    • “Nebraska Quarter Reverse” page
    • “Inventions” page
  • Locate copies of a text about life as a pioneer (see examples under “Materials”).
  • Gather a collection of texts about life as a pioneer to use in a classroom library (see examples under “Materials”).

Worksheets and Files

Lesson plan, worksheet(s), and rubric (if any) at www.usmint.gov/kids/teachers/lessonPlans/pdf/265.pdf.

Session 1

  1. Divide the class into small groups. Tell the students that they are going on a month-long trip. The students need to decide where they want to go for a month and create a packing list for the trip.
  2. Allow time for the students to talk and plan for the trip in their small groups. Have the following questions written on a piece of chart paper for the students to consider:
    • Where are you going?
    • About how many miles away is your final destination?
    • How will you get there?
    • About how long will it take you to get there?
    • What is the weather like?
    • List the five most important items each person will need for the journey. Consider food, clothes, games, and books.
  3. Distribute a piece of chart paper and a marker to each group. Have the students choose a member of the group to act as the recorder and write down the group’s ideas on the chart paper. Allow time for the students to answer the questions.
  4. As the groups finish, hang the pieces of chart paper in the room. Have each group briefly explain the details of their trip. Once all of the small groups have had a chance to share, review and discuss the key points of the lists.

Session 2

  1. Describe the 50 State Quarters® Program for background information, if necessary, using the example of your own state, if available. Locate Nebraska on a classroom map. Note its position in relation to your school’s location.
  2. Display the transparency or photocopy of the “Nebraska Quarter Reverse” page. Optionally, distribute actual quarters. Have the students identify the images in this coin design, including the sun, Chimney Rock, a (Conestoga or covered) wagon, and people (pioneers).
  3. Ask the students why they think that the images might be important to Nebraska and accept all responses. Guide the students to understand that the image depicts the pioneers traveling west in the mid-1800s. Collect the quarters, if used, at the end of the discussion.
  4. Tell the students that when the early pioneers (people who move to an unsettled place) passed by Chimney Rock in the 1840s, they knew they would soon reach the Rocky Mountains.
  5. Ask the students to brainstorm symbols that we use today to tell people when changes are coming while they’re traveling. For example, when a street sign shows a sharp curve in the road ahead.
  6. Have them examine the details of the coin image. Ask them to pay close attention to the mode of transportation, style of dress, and date on the coin.
  7. Introduce the students to the selected text or excerpt about the life of a pioneer. As a group, preview the text and illustrations to generate observations about what is occurring at different points in the text. Read the selected text or excerpts to the class and attend to any unfamiliar vocabulary.
  8. As a class, discuss the lives of pioneers and record the information on chart paper.
  9. Remind the students that the pioneers were traveling west to begin a new life. Tell the students they need to understand what the world was like during the mid-1800s. Display the “Inventions” overhead transparency and the inventions and the dates they were originated. Discuss some of the comforts we have today that the pioneers had to do without.
  10. Distribute a “Now and Then” worksheet to each student. Ask them to write the present year in the “Now” column and “mid-1800s” in the “Then” column. Based on the coin image, the activity from the previous session, and the class discussion, have the students complete as much of the worksheet as possible.
  11. Have the students get into the small groups from the previous session to discuss their answers on the worksheets. Allow the students time to add additional information to theirworksheets.
  12. Collect the students’ worksheets.

Session 3

  1. Distribute the “Now and Then” worksheets and display the chart from the previous session. As a class, briefly review the material covered in the previous sessions.
  2. Tell the students that it is now the year 1867 and their family is traveling across the country to begin a new life. Their transportation is a covered wagon that travels 1 to 2 miles per hour.
  3. Distribute a “Packing for the Trail” worksheet to each student. Tell the students they will need to prepare a packing list for the trip.
  4. Allow the students sufficient time to complete their “Packing for the Trail” worksheet.
  5. Invite the students to share their packing list with others in the class. Discuss the challenges the students faced in creating their lists. Talk about some of the hardships families faced while traveling across country in the mid-1800s that families don’t need to worry about today.
  6. Distribute a “Journals of Chimney Rock” worksheet to each student. Explain to the students that they are to create a journal entry for their trip in the mid-1800s and tell about an experience along the way as they begin a new life.
  7. Allow the students sufficient time to complete their journal worksheets. Collect the worksheets.

Differentiated Learning Options

  • Allow students to work with partners to complete their worksheets.
  • Allow students to dictate their packing list and journal entry to a scribe.

Enrichments/Extensions

  • Have students play Oregon Trail to continue to get the feel of what life was like on the trail.
  • Have the students draw and label the parts of a Conestoga wagon.
  • Take anecdotal notes about the students’ participation in class discussions.
  • Evaluate the students’ worksheets for achievement of the lesson’s objectives.
There are no related resources for this lesson plan.

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: SL.2 Speaking and Listening
Grade(s): Grade 2
Cluster: Presentation of Knowledge and Ideas
Standards:

  • SL.2.4. Tell a story or recount an experience with appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details, speaking audibly in coherent sentences.
  • SL.2.5. Create audio recordings of stories or poems; add drawings or other visual displays to stories or recounts of experiences when appropriate to clarify ideas, thoughts, and feelings.
  • SL.2.6. Produce complete sentences when appropriate to task and situation in order to provide requested detail or clarification. (See grade 2 Language standards 1 and 3 for specific expectations.

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: L.2 Language
Grade(s): Grade 2
Cluster: Conventions of Standard English
Standards:

  • L.2.1. Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.
    • Use collective nouns (e.g., group).
    • Form and use frequently occurring irregular plural nouns (e.g., feet, children, teeth, mice, fish).
    • Use reflexive pronouns (e.g., myself, ourselves)
    • Form and use the past tense of frequently occurring irregular verbs (e.g., sat, hid, told).
    • Use adjectives and adverbs, and choose between them depending on what is to be modified.
    • Produce, expand, and rearrange complete simple and compound sentences (e.g., The boy watched the movie; The little boy watched the movie; The action movie was watched by the little boy).
  • L.2.2. Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.
    • Capitalize holidays, product names, and geographic names.
    • Use commas in greetings and closings of letters.
    • Use an apostrophe to form contractions and frequently occurring possessives.
    • Generalize learned spelling patterns when writing words (e.g., cage --> badge; boy --> boil).
    • Consult reference materials, including beginning dictionaries, as needed to check and correct spellings.

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: L.3 Language
Grade(s): Grade 2
Cluster: Conventions of Standard English
Standards:

  • L.3.1. Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.
    • Explain the function of nouns, pronouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs in general and their functions in particular sentences.
    • Form and use regular and irregular plural nouns.
    • Use abstract nouns (e.g., childhood).
    • Form and use regular and irregular verbs.
    • Form and use the simple (e.g., I walked; I walk; I will walk) verb tenses.
    • Ensure subject-verb and pronoun-antecedent agreement.
    • Form and use comparative and superlative adjectives and adverbs, and choose between them depending on what is to be modified.
    • Use coordinating and subordinating conjunctions.
    • Produce simple, compound, and complex sentences.
  • L.3.2. Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.
    • Capitalize appropriate words in titles.
    • Use commas in addresses.
    • Use commas and quotation marks in dialogue.
    • Form and use possessives.
    • Use conventional spelling for high-frequency and other studied words and for adding suffixes to base words (e.g., sitting, smiled, cries, happiness).
    • Use spelling patterns and generalizations (e.g., word families, position-based spellings, syllable patterns, ending rules, meaningful word parts) in writing words.
    • Consult reference materials, including beginning dictionaries, as needed to check and correct spellings.

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: RL.2 Reading: Informational Text
Grade(s): Grade 2
Cluster: Key Ideas and Details
Standards:

  • RI.2.1. Ask and answer such questions as who, what, where, when, why, and how to demonstrate understanding of key details in a text.
  • RI.2.2. Identify the main topic of a multi-paragraph text as well as the focus of specific paragraphs within the text.
  • RI.2.3. Describe the connection between a series of historical events, scientific ideas or concepts, or steps in technical procedures in a text. 

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: RL.2 Reading: Informational Text
Grade(s): Grade 2
Cluster: Integration of Knowledge and Ideas
Standards:

  • RI.2.7. Explain how specific images (e.g., a diagram showing how a machine works) contribute to and clarify a text.
  • RI.2.8. Describe how reasons support specific points the author makes in a text.
  • RI.2.9. Compare and contrast the most important points presented by two texts on the same topic.

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: RL.2 Reading: Informational Text
Grade(s): Grade 2
Cluster: Craft and Structure
Standards:

  • RI.2.4. Determine the meaning of words and phrases in a text relevant to a grade 2 topic or subject area.
  • RI.2.5. Know and use various text features (e.g., captions, bold print, subheadings, glossaries, indexes, electronic menus, icons) to locate key facts or information in a text efficiently.
  • RI.2.6. Identify the main purpose of a text, including what the author wants to answer, explain, or describe.

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: RL.3 Reading: Informational Text
Grade(s): Grade 2
Cluster: Craft and Structure
Standards:

  • RI.3.4. Determine the meaning of general academic and domain-specific words and phrases in a text relevant to a grade 3 topic or subject area.
  • RI.3.5. Use text features and search tools (e.g., key words, sidebars, hyperlinks) to locate information relevant to a given topic efficiently.
  • RI.3.6. Distinguish their own point of view from that of the author of a text.

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: RL.3 Reading: Informational Text
Grade(s): Grade 2
Cluster: Integration of Knowledge and Ideas
Standards:

  • RI.3.7. Use information gained from illustrations (e.g., maps, photographs) and the words in a text to demonstrate understanding of the text (e.g., where, when, why, and how key events occur).
  • RI.3.8. Describe the logical connection between particular sentences and paragraphs in a text (e.g., comparison, cause/effect, first/second/third in a sequence).
  • RI.3.9. Compare and contrast the most important points and key details presented in two texts on the same topic.

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: RL.3 Reading: Informational Text
Grade(s): Grade 2
Cluster: Key Ideas and Details
Standards:

  • RI.3.1. Ask and answer questions to demonstrate understanding of a text, referring explicitly to the text as the basis for the answers.
  • RI.3.2. Determine the main idea of a text; recount the key details and explain how they support the main idea.
  • RI.3.3. Describe the relationship between a series of historical events, scientific ideas or concepts, or steps in technical procedures in a text, using language that pertains to time, sequence, and cause/effect.

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: W.2 Writing
Grade(s): Grade 2
Cluster: Research to Build and Present Knowledge
Standards:

  • W.2.7. Participate in shared research and writing projects (e.g., read a number of books on a single topic to produce a report; record science observations).
  • W.2.8. Recall information from experiences or gather information from provided sources to answer a question.
  • W.2.9. begins in grade 4.

This lesson plan is not associated with any National Standards.