The Oregon Trail and Donner Party Webquest and Video Analysis with Key- this is a 10 page document that contains a webquest and a completed teachers key for easy marking. It contains 30 questions based on a History Channel documentary video clip and an online article about the Oregon Trail (frontiertrails.com).
The assignment first asks students to proceed to YouTube to watch a History Channel documentary clip about the Oregon Trail, and specifically, the Donner Party. The intensity of the journey, the required stamina and strength required to make the journey, and the terrible human cost of the trip are all discussed. The Donner Party are used as an example of the tragedies on the Oregon Trail. The Donner Party being snowed in, running out of supplies, and eventual cannibalism are all covered by the video. The cannibalism reference is not graphic but is still powerful. After watching the video, students will be directed to an article which will provide a historic and detailed description of the Oregon Trail. The departure from Independence, Missouri, relations with the Native Americans, the harrowing journey down the Columbia River, and the arrival at the Pacific are all covered by this assignment.
This webquest can be easily used as an introduction to the topic, a study guide, or a quick and easy sub plan.