Westward Expansion
Age 9-11: Concept 3 - Discovery and Survival: Unit 3

Load up the wagon and hitch up the horses. We’re heading west! Journey with Lewis and Clark as they survey the unexplored wilderness of the Louisiana Purchase. Examine different reasons the pioneers chose to make the journey west and the trails they followed to their destinations. Appreciate the hardships faced by families as they travelled across the United States and the life that awaited them upon arrival.

This unit can be used independently, but it is also designed to be used concurrently with the literature unit, The Ballad of Lucy Whipple.

Other Items You May Need

The Age 9-11 social studies units utilize a Timeline of American History to enhance your child's understanding of the chronology of American history.
$4.99 #531 American History Timeline


  • Able to read and comprehend novels at a late 5th or 6th grade reading level
  • Able to write multiple paragraphs on a topic
  • Usually used by children in fifth grade

Table of Contents

  • Lesson 1: Lewis and Clark (2 Days)
  • Lesson 2: Reasons for Migrating West
  • Lesson 3: Transportation Routes (2 Days)
  • Lesson 4: Wagon Ride
  • Lesson 5: On the Oregon Trail (3 Days)
  • Lesson 6: Life in a New Land
  • Final Project: Westward Ho! Game (2 Days)

Summary of Skills

Moving Beyond the Page is based on state and national standards. These standards are covered in this unit.
  • Communicate using technology or appropriate media. (Language Arts)
  • Select, organize, or produce visuals to complement and extend meanings. (Language Arts)
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the exploration and settlement of the trans-Mississippi West following the Louisiana Purchase. (Social Studies)
  • Describe clusters of settlement in the United States and explain their distribution. (Social Studies)
  • Describe the rapid migration to the West. (Social Studies)
  • Describe the religious and ethnic impact of settlement on different regions of the United States. (Social Studies)
  • Discuss the experiences of settlers on the overland trails to the West (e.g., location of the routes; purpose of the journey; the influence of the terrain, rivers, vegetation, and climate; life in the territories at the end of these trails). (Social Studies)
  • Discuss the experiences of settlers on the overland trails to the West. (Social Studies)
  • Examine how changes in the movement of people, goods, and ideas have affected life in the United States. (Social Studies)
  • Explain how the discovery of natural resources changed the West. (Social Studies)
  • Explain the geographic factors that influence patterns of settlement and the distribution of population in the United States, past and present. (Social Studies)
  • Explain the geographic factors that influence patterns of settlement. (Social Studies)
  • Explain when, where, why, and how groups of people settled in different regions of the United States. (Social Studies)
  • Identify and describe the types of settlement and patterns of land use in the United States. (Social Studies)
  • Identify examples of the United States' territorial expansion. (Social Studies)
  • Identify reasons why people have adapted to and modified their environment. (Social Studies)
  • Understand patterns and reasons for westward migration. (Social Studies)
  • Understand the influence of the Transcontinental Railroad. (Social Studies)
  • Understand the story and lasting influence of the spirit of the West. (Social Studies)
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