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Sunday, March 24, 2013

Westward Movement Lesson

We recently wrapped up a unit on Westward Expansion after the Revolutionary War.  We focused on the Thomas Jefferson's efforts as president to increase the territory owned by the United States.  Our Lesson Essential Question was:  What geographic factors influenced Virginians to move to the western frontier of Virginia and beyond?

We started with an anticipatory video about the Louisiana Purchase.

Then a little longer video about using the Cumberland Gap as a gateway west.

This video is a little "grainy," but I found that it's kid-friendly and they really understood what the Cumberland Gap was after this video.

We review:
  • The capital has already moved three times (Jamestown, Williamsburg, Richmond).
  • Reasons for wanting to move west (tobacco destroyed the soil, new economic and land opportunities).
We fill out the chart below.  I give them 10-15 minutes to work in pairs to fill in the blanks and then we talk about it as a class.

Why Did People Move Westward?


All of the sudden, the reasons we discussed are more challenging because we are using different vocabulary terms (political, environmental), but with guidance, they quickly pick up on it.  They need to recognize and be able to use these terms interchangeably for testing purposes.

Do you have any great resources for this unit?


Donna said...

I love the Virginia Trekkers podcast from the Cumberland Gap!

Heather said...

I will have to check that one out!