This lesson can be taught in many different ways. It is designed as a Jigsaw activity. However, it could easily be taught in a whole class setting. The objectives are to identify causes and effects of Manifest Destiny and analyze primary sources. At the end of the lesson, students should be able to synthesize what they’ve learned and explain some of the “realities” and hardships of western journeys. They will also get to “experience” the journey by drawing one of the Donner party’s name and finding out at the end of the activity what his or her fate was.
To prepare the lesson, print out this power point. Make copies of the graphic organizer. Cut the names from the Donner Party Names List at the end of the file. Students will first draw a name and write it in the correct box on the graphic organizer. Students will work in groups to annotate, take notes, and analyze sources. Two of the sources are names of people cannibalized and names and ages of survivors. These can be used with students who do better with numerical data.
To organize the JIGSAW groups, it is easier to create color coded cards. For instance, I use colored index cards to create 5 groups. I number all the cards of the same color from 1 – 5. Then, I distribute all the cards to the class and put students into groups first by number. Then, provide each group the numbered source from the packet. Group 1 gets the Applegate reading and so on. These groups analyze and read sources and then fill in information on their graphic organizer. Then, students will be reorganized into groups by color where they will share information and complete their graphic organizers.
When everyone is finished, the class will meet again as a whole group. I like to have every person in the class share one item from their notes so we can all discuss and learn from each other. Then, students will learn what happened to their character. Use the power point for this information. Either read it or project it. They will fill in this information and then complete the journal activity on the main objective. Thanks for looking. Penny Wood