Do you love the game Oregon Trail? This unit includes a whole class version of the game!
This is a Problem Based Learning Unit all about the pioneers of our great nation. I created this unit for my second graders, but you could use it for older children too. This unit is very detailed. It integrates ELA skills, social studies, history, and provides the opportunity for creativity as well as FUN!
The children get to "go along" in the journey. This unit has three parts. Check out the Preview File for a better look at how this unit is composed. Each section includes a nonfiction text source to provide background information to the class complete with comprehension close reading questions. There is also a printable pioneer journal for the children to record all of their new knowledge. This unit concludes with a short test, but this is optional. There are plenty of opportunities for you to take grades along the journey!
It begins preparing the children for the journey. They get to experience preparation by making their own Prairie Schooner as well as packing it for the journey. This is the first project.
Once they are all ready to go on the journey, they will get started on the Oregon Trail. I LOVE the game Oregon Trail. I recreated it making it into a paper version that the ENTIRE class can play together. This is a great learning experience. As the students travel across the Oregon Trail, they face many decisions or problems. They will most certainly get the idea of the hardships endured on this journey. My class LOVED it. We had to play it a few times! The children can write about their experiences on the trail in their pioneer journals.
Once the class has made it to their destination, it is time to homestead! The children will be given the task to create their own homestead using various materials. They have to choose the layout of their homestead keeping the importance of natural resources in mind! This is a group project that lends itself to plenty of debate, reasoning, and creativity. I actually had my students use card tables to construct their homesteads. We placed them in the hallway and had our school's students judge them! We were able to evaluate the homesteads and learn from their choices.
This unit is not just worksheets. My goal was to recreate the pioneer experience for the children. My class and I had a ton of fun and learned a lot! I am sure you and your class will too!