Donner Party: A CSI Investigation! What Happened To The Donner Party?
The Donner Party CSI Investigation is included as part of the CSI American History Bundle, located here:
CSI American History Bundle! Lost Colony, Salem, Donner Party, Lincoln!
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The Donner Party CSI investigation is a great resource to teach students the history of the Donner Party, their role in Westward Expansion, and the challenges faced by emigrants traveling west. This 14-page CSI investigation places students in the role of researchers and investigators as they explore the experiences of the Donner Party. Students begin at the outset of the Donner Party in April, 1846, then follow their journey and experiences until their rescue in Spring, 1847. Want to limit the investigation or take out some of the content? You can easily remove resources (or pick and choose) to fit your needs or your students!
In the investigation, students analyze a variety of primary source documents (letters, journals) to draw conclusions and learn about the experience of the party. Students will also create questions they have as they uncover more details about the party and the decisions they make (these make for an opportunity to conduct more research once finished). Once finished, students will complete a final writing assignment where they answer the four overarching questions:
- Who was the Donner Party and what were they seeking?
- What caused the party to not make it to California?
- What conditions did the party face both before AND after getting trapped?
- Who was to blame for the Donner Party’s misery?
Two versions of graphic organizes are provided to allow students to best map out their thoughts before commencing on the final assessment.
A full key is also included!
The Donner Party CSI investigation is a great supplement to the Westward Expansion / Manifest Destiny Unit
that teaches America’s westward migration and expansion!
**Because of the nature of the Donner Party (and the gruesomeness of their experience) one or two documents may need to be omitted for younger audiences. However, I believe all students can empathize with the party's experiences and should be able to understand their circumstances and challenges.
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This lesson IS included as part of the Complete American History Curriculum! Full Year of 38 Units, Tests, Supplements!
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***ATTENTION DISTRICTS AND DEPARTMENTS*** If you are purchasing for your school's department, please buy the appropriate amount of licenses. If it is purchased with school funds, it belongs to the school. If you are a large school district and you are interested in a full district license, please message me and I can work out a quote that is cheaper than what you see.