Divide the class into 4 groups.
Assign each group one of the prominent trails across Wyoming: Oregon, California, Mormon and Pony Express.
Using the Emigrant Trails Web site as well as other resources (ie. Library research, field trips to nearby sites and museums), the students will research the path of the assigned trail across Wyoming.
Each group will prepare a class presentation answering the following questions:
Who traveled this trail? Include information about the background (including heritage, vocation, etc), and family structure of the travelers (alone?, with families?, extended families?)
What motivated the travelers to take this trail? What were their goals and purposes for traveling west?
How were the groups organized for travel? Include any information about the structure of the travelers. (Did they travel as individuals?, in groups?, What was the leadership structure like if they were in a group?, How were jobs/ responsibilities assigned?, How were rules made and enforced?, How were problems handled?
Make a Wyoming map showing your trail.
Identify on you map the part of the trail across Wyoming that might have been the most difficult for your travelers. Why do you think this part could be difficult?
How did your travelers relate to or handle issues with Native Americans and other people along the way?
What did you find out about your trail and its travelers that you feel is interesting or unique?
After the group has completed a written report, they will orally present this information to the class.
The class will complete a compare and contrast chart after each presentation in order to understand the role/impact each trail and its travelers had on Wyoming and the impact Wyoming had on its travelers.
Written reports will be compiled into a class reference book and added to the class library for use by future students.
This unit addresses: Writing, Reading, History, Art and Technology Standards