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Westward Expansion - Complete Unit with Teaching Power Point

Linda Kamp
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Linda Kamp


This complete Westward Expansion resource has everything you need to teach a fun and highly engaging unit about the westward movement. Based around a 10-lesson teaching PowerPoint with pictures from the time period, the unit includes 15 days of detailed lesson plans, Westward Expansion assessments and quizzes, 12 short reading comprehension and foundational skills mini lessons, related literacy centers for each week with task cards, vocabulary work, reading passages with target skills embedded, and small group options. Posters of key figures and events during the westward expansion create a timeline display that is added to after each lesson. Integrate writing and research easily with think and write journal prompts and research templates with planning and publishing pages for 10 different topics related to the westward movement. The unit also includes a response journal booklet with comprehension questions and target vocabulary for each of the 10 lessons. I’ve even included a Westward Expansion group project. Adapt it easily to teach a 2 or 3-week unit.

Address reading, writing, and language arts skills in each week’s lessons with social studies content. Work with nonfiction text features as your students read informational books about westward expansion (book list included) and make the Follow the Text Features Trail craft and bulletin board.

Plan your small groups around the skill embedded reading passages, plus word work and grammar lessons with related practice activities.

Use the maps and graphic organizers whole group or small to engage students in thinking critically about the cause and effect relationships between these historical events and key figures in American history.

Target speaking and listening standards through class discussions with the Think About It slides with discussion questions for each lesson in the Teaching PowerPoint.

Have students respond in writing to each of the lessons with the comprehension response journal.

Teach the skill lessons easily with 15 colorful lesson visuals and focus posters that can be printed or projected.

Include hands-on grammar practice with the bonus Gold Rush Grammar and Writing Craft. With 3 skills to choose from, students use westward expansion topics to focus on nouns/pronouns, facts/opinions, and possessive nouns/contractions while also adding an optional writing piece.

This is a very large unit. The download is a zip file with 4 separate resources that make up the unit. I have been teaching this unit in various forms, adding to it, refining, and perfecting it all for the past 3 school years. I love how it how it turned out and am really excited to offer it to others!

I’ve included a unit pacing guide with very detailed lesson plans and teacher’s notes, plus standards alignment pages to save you precious planning time as you teach an effective, organized and highly engaging unit! My class LOVES this unit and I know yours will too!

Please see the PREVIEW by clicking the green button to see all of the unit components and resources.

Included in the unit:

Pacing & Planning Guide with resources-at-a-glance to simplify planning.

Detailed 15-Day Lesson Plan with teacher’s notes, objectives, materials, and procedures. Easily customized for 2 or 3 week unit.

10 Lesson Teaching Power Point

A 42-slide Power Point presentation with 10 high interest lessons using real pictures and maps with comprehension questions and vocabulary focus for each lesson.

Lesson 1: What Was Westward Expansion?

Lesson 2: The Louisiana Purchase

Lesson 3: The Lewis & Clark Expedition

Lesson 4: The Oregon Trail

Lesson 5: The Erie Canal

Lesson 6: The Invention of the Steamboat

Lesson 7: The Pony Express

Lesson 8: The Invention of the Telegraph

Lesson 9: The Gold Rush

Lesson 10: The Transcontinental Railroad

Additional Components

Lesson Response Journal- Comprehension questions with key vocabulary for each lesson. Students answer text-based questions, form opinions, understand cause & effect relationships, and make inferences and judgements.


Vocabulary lesson visuals (projectable and printable) in color and blackline

Large vocabulary/definition cards for display in color and blackline

Covered Wagon Vocabulary Craft Booklet

Lesson Support Materials

2 Multi-Paragraph Reading Passages with comprehension questions and target skills embedded

9 Timeline Posters with display header

6 Projectable Graphic Organizers in color with blackline student versions

2 Projectable Maps in color with blackline student versions to label the Louisiana Territory and the Oregon Trail


2 Quizzes

Skill Checks

Unit Assessment

Skill Based Mini-Lessons

Each skill lesson includes focus poster, activity pages, quick check quiz, and related literacy center game, task cards, or craft in color and blackline versions

Cause & Effect

Fact & Opinion

Main Idea and Details

Suffixes –sion and –sure

Commas in Dates

Commas in a Series

Additional Literacy Centers

Inventions: Transportation & Communication Spinner Game

Compare and Describe Flap Books –Transportation and communication inventions

Vocabulary Match Game

Break the Morse Code Game

Build-A-Word with –sion and –sure

Commas in a Series Task Cards

Commas in Dates Task Cards

Writing Integration

Research planning and publishing pages for 13 topic related to westward expansion

Weekly Think-About-It journal prompts

Please see the PREVIEW by clicking the green button to view all unit components and resources.

**This download is a zip file with 4 individual files**

Visit my blog Around the Kampfire to see how I use this unit in my classroom.

Happy teaching and thanks so much for visiting my store!

Linda Kamp

Around the Kampfire

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Visit me at my blog Around the Kampfire, or on Facebook, or Pinterest.


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Total Pages
Answer Key
Teaching Duration
3 Weeks
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