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Westward Expansion & Pioneers Presentations & Field Trip Ideas

Updated on November 6, 2014
iijuan12 profile image

I am a Christian. I was an 8th-grade American History teacher. I am currently a freelance writer, public speaker, & homeschooling mom of 8.

Westward Expansion & Pioneers End of Unit Presentations & Field Trip Ideas

The end of the unit activity and presentations for our 4 part hands-on unit on Westward Expansion and Pioneers was a "Pioneer Wagon Roundup." Children dressed as various famous frontiersmen or pioneers and presented on their assigned person. They also brought pioneer food. We feasted around a campfire with stories, songs, and games. I have also included where we went for field trips during this unit. My lessons are geared toward 3rd-4th grade level children and their siblings. These are lessons I created to do with a weekly homeschool co-op. Use these fun lessons with your classroom, family, after school program, camp, or homeschool co-op group!

Please DO NOT copy this elsewhere without giving proper credit: http://iijuan12.hubpages.com/hub/westward-expansion-and-pioneers-presentations-and-field-trips

Children dressed as Jim Bridger, Buffalo Bill, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Narcissa Whitman, and Jed Smith
Children dressed as Jim Bridger, Buffalo Bill, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Narcissa Whitman, and Jed Smith

Frontiersmen & Pioneers Presentations

Each child was assigned a particular frontiersmen or pioneer. They dressed up as that person and gave a 5 minute presentation on their person. Some children also included written reports, drawings, and objects of interest. Below are the people we chose for presentations:

Buffalo Bill

Daniel Boone

Davy Crockett

Jed Smith

Jessie Freemont (Female)

Jim Beckwourth

Jim Bowie

Jim Bridger

Kit Carson

Meriwether Lewis

Laura Ingalls Wilder (Female)

Levi Strauss

Narcissa Whitman (Female)

Sacagawea (Female)

William Clark

William Fargo

Zeb Pike

Calamity Jane (Female)

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Pioneer Food

Each family brought a pioneer-themed main dish and either a side dish, bread, or dessert to share. Our dinner included "sarsaparilla" (root beer), "ginger water" (ginger ale), roasted "wild" turkey, "prairie" chicken and dumplings, bean stew, an assortment of root & vegetable dishes, country biscuits, hoe cakes, Indian pudding, pound cake, "wild" berries, and vinegar pie. Utah's Office of Education's Links to Pioneer Recipe Websites offers some good pioneer recipe ideas.

Looking for some additional pioneer recipe ideas?

The Little House Cookbook: Frontier Foods from Laura Ingalls Wilder's Classic Stories
The Little House Cookbook: Frontier Foods from Laura Ingalls Wilder's Classic Stories

If you are a fan of the Little House series, you'll definitely want to check out this delightful cookbook with many recipes inspired by the foods Laura Ingalls Wilder describes in her books.

 
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Field Trip Ideas

During this unit study, my family attended a Rural Folk Life Festival at which the children got to help make lye soap, crack a bullwhip, watch a blacksmith, stamp leather, fish with cane poles, watch sugar cane get boiled down (and try some), and more. We also attended a local "Old Timey Days" Festival at which they children got to sample many pioneer recipes, watch an old timey puppet show, play pioneer games, and more. We visited our local State History Museum and Museum of Science and History, both of which include many tools, clothing, furniture, and other items from the pioneer period. You can visit similar events and/or museums in your area!

Looking for the lessons?

Tracking expedition from Lesson 1: Daniel Boone, Frontiersmen, & Tracking Lesson
Tracking expedition from Lesson 1: Daniel Boone, Frontiersmen, & Tracking Lesson

Fry up Daniel Boone's favorite fried chicken recipe and talk a walk outdoors in search of tracks and you study frontiersmen and tracking. Dramatize the purchase of Louisiana from France and more as you study Lewis and Clark! Build a pioneer wagon and the transcontinental railroad. Pan for "gold" and deliver mail on the pony express (using bicycles rather than horses). Wrap up the unit on Westward Expansion and pioneers with a wagon roundup dinner and presentations on various frontiersmen and pioneers.

  • Daniel Boone, Frontiersmen, & Tracking Lesson - This is part 1 of a 4 part hands-on unit study on Westward Expansion and Pioneers. Go on a nature walk to practice tracking, cook Daniel Boone's favorite fried chicken recipe, create salt maps of the US, and more!
  • Lewis and Clark Lesson - This is part 2 of a 4 part hands-on unit study on Westward Expansion and Pioneers. Dramatize the Louisiana Purchase, taste and see some of the plants and animals Lewis & Clark discovered on their journey, visit with Sacajawea and Pomp, create a Lewis and Clark lapbook, and more!
  • Oregon Trail Lesson - This is part 3 of a 4 part hands-on unit study on Westward Expansion and Pioneers. Build prairie schooner, head out on a scavenger hunt using only landmarks to navigate, bake Pioneer Persimmon Pudding, practice pioneer children's chores, and more!
  • California Gold Rush, Pony Express, & Transcontinental Railroad Lesson - This is part 4 of a 4 part hands-on unit study on Westward Expansion and Pioneers. Pan for “gold,” bake Gold Rush Sourdough Biscuits, race to deliver mail on the Pony Express, build the Transcontinental Railroad out of craft sticks, and more!
  • Westward Expansion & Pioneers Presentations & Field Trip Ideas - The end of the unit activity and presentations for our 4 part hands-on unit on Westward Expansion and Pioneers was a Pioneer Wagon Roundup Dinner. Children dressed as various famous frontiersmen or pioneers and presented on their assigned person. Afterward we had a pioneer themed dinner around a campfire. Also included are the field trips we attended while studying this unit.

Cowboy Campfire Cooking Breakfast and "Magic" Pie

How Pioneer Women Would Dress

Who was your favorite frontiersmen or pioneer?

See results
Konos Volume III
Konos Volume III

Konos Curriculum

Would you like to teach this way every day?

Konos Curriculum

I use Konos Curriculum as a springboard from which to plan my lessons. It's a wonderful curriculum and was created by moms with active boys! The lessons found in this unit study on Westward Expansion and Pioneers are based on the lessons from the Inquisitiveness Unit found in Konos Volume I and from lessons from the Resourcefulness Unit found in Konos Volume III.

Konos Home School Mentor

If you're new to homeschooling or in need of some fresh guidance, I highly recommend Konos' HomeSchoolMentor.com program! Watch videos on-line of what to do each day and how to teach it in this great hands-on format!

© 2011 iijuan12

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