In this activity you will role play
one of the many types of people who were part of the westward expansion
movement in the United States, from the years 1820-1860. From 1840-1860,
over 50,000 people moved into Oregon. The tracks of the many wagon trails can
still be seen to this day! It is your job to try and capture in writing the
trials and tribulations of the courageous people who exhibited the spirit of
exploration and the American concept of Manifest Destiny. You must pick a role to play, either of a
real, well known explorer, or you will become one of many common people, and
explain the kind of things these common folks went through in their travels out
west. You may use your text book, internet or library resources to live the life
of an American explorer. You should look for real journals or autobiographies
of real people, which will make your job very easy to do. Some of your journal
may be speculation, in which you infer how people would react to their
situation, but most of you accounts should be based on fact. To get an idea of
this journal writing, check out the Critical Thinking Skills piece of you
textbook, on page 355.
WHAT YOU ARE REQUIRED
role, either a real person from history or a common man who doesnt really
exist but represents people of the era and are part of the westward movement in
journal for this person (either as an autobiography or as a roaming reporter
who shadows the person) for the period of one week. Give this person a name. Describe the
clothing and living conditions of this person. Each day in the life of this
person should include specific details about something the person did. IT would
be expected that each day is encapsulated in approximately 250 words.
brief oral presentation (2 minutes) summarizing the ordeals of you character.
You do not need to include any posters or pictures, but expect one or two
questions from the crowd.
include at least three sources as reference for you traveling story.
be asked to generate three questions, which will be part of a quiz that we will
have on this unit.
students who listen to the presentation must be ready to take notes, which they
may use on their quiz.
like each role to be filled before any role is repeated. See your teacher for
first come first served.
listed on the back of this sheet.
QUESTIONS TO BE
yourself, clothes, gender, age, education, race, background, and personality.
sights did you see on the way?
adventures did they face?
hazards did you have to overcome?
of people did you encounter?
things did you encounter that were fun and exciting?
things scared you?
your supplies of food and water hold out? What did you do if you ran out?
10. Did you accomplish the goals that you set out
ROLES TO CHOOSE FROM : (If you have another role idea, please discuss it
with your teacher)
Beckwourth, a daring mountain man, who actually wrote
of book of exploits.
week in the life of female mountain woman, Marie Dorion.
week in the life of William Ashley, fur trapping entrepreneur.
or Narcissa Whitman, who were missionaries trying to
convert native Americans of Oregon County to Christianity.
Joseph Barnard, a Chicago doctor who moved to Texas to help out in the Texas rebellion.
Crockett, famed Tennessee senator who fought for Texas at the Alamo.
adventures of Wiliam Becknell,
American merchant, adventurer and entrepreneur.
week in the life of Ms. Roseline Willard Peck,
settler in Wisconsin.
are James Marshall, and you have found gold in Sutters Mill in California.
week in the life of a make believe mountain man, who was connected to William
week in the life of Mormon leader Joseph Smith.
A week in the life of a Buffalo Hunter,
William F. Buffalo Bill Cody, a railroad worker and hunter.
week in the life of the famous western outlaw, Kid Curry.
week in the life of ALVIN A. COFFEY, a black man along for the ride in the California gold rush
week in the life of Theodore Judah, the man who developed the Pacific Railroad.
make believe mountain man, give him any name you
choose, spend a week in the mountains.
make believe mountain man, returning to town with a large collection of pelts.
father of a family of four, traveling from St. Louis to Oregons Willamette Valley.
13 year old girl, a member of a family traveling from St. Louis to Oregons
Willamette Valley .
poorly trained country doctor, making the trip with settlers on their way to Oregon.
poor black man who stayed in Texas to protect American rights
at the Alamo.
A housewife-pioneer on a farm in Ohio, explains things she does and
uses to keep the farm working smoothly.
A week in the life of a man panning for gold
in California in 1848.
The journal of fourteen-year old Solomon Hook
(Jacob Donner's step-son), a member of the Donnor Party.
A struggling Mormon farmer trying to get the
area around the Great Salt Lake to Blossom As a Rose.
A week in the life of a man who is a rider on
the short lived, Pony Express
A week in the life of a cowboy, riding heard
in the 1850s.
A week in the life of a cook on a cattle
drive, cooks were very important and served many tasks,
week in the life of a Buffalo Soldier a man dedicated to the safety of cattle
drives and settler movements.
week in the life of a woman, who goes to California to See the Elephant herself.