Westward Ho! Lapbook {Time period we covered 1803 to 1890}

 Albert Bierstadt's  The Rocky Mountains Landers Peak

~ 1836~

Permission by Mark Harden  - The Artchive 

One Dakota pioneer wrote:

"When God made man, He seemed to think it best to make him in the East and let him travel West".


The Oregon Trail was given National Historic Trail designation in 1978, honoring this great migration that helped assure that one day the Oregon country would one day be part of the United States.


 About the Oregon Trail:

The trail began as footpath of the Indians and was later used by explorers, fur trappers and missionaries.

The Oregon Trail was one of the main overland migration routes on the North American continent, leading from locations on the Missouri River to the Oregon Country.

Between 1841 and 1869 the Oregon Trail was used by settlers, ranchers, farmers, miners, and business men migrating to the Pacific Northwest. I

 The first significant major wagon train of families moving West was in 1841 with just 32 people.

The eastern half of the trail was also used by travelers on the California Trail, Bozeman Trail, and Mormon Trail which used much of the same trail before turning off to their separate destinations.

Once the first transcontinental railroad by the Union Pacific and the Central Pacific was completed in 1869, the use of this trail by long distance travelers rapidly diminished as the railroad traffic replaced most need for it. By 1883 the Northern Pacific Railroad had reached Portland, Oregon, and most of the reason for the trail disappeared. Roads were built over or near most of the trail as local travelers traveled to cities originally established along the Oregon Trail.

To complete the journey in one traveling season most travelers left in April to May—as soon as grass was growing enough to support their teams and the trails dried out.

The four- to six-month journey spanned over half the continent as the wagon trail led about 2,000 miles (3,200 km) west through territories and land that later became six U.S. states: Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, Wyoming, Idaho, and Oregon. Extensions of the Oregon Trail were the main arteries that fed settlers into six more states: Colorado, Utah, Nevada, California, Washington, and Montana.

  Time period we covered: 1803 - 1890

It was hard for us to narrow down our topics of interest since this was our first study of this time period. They all were so in depth and we just had to pick and choose so that we could get an overview of this  time period.

Since we covered this as a co-op we will post more minibooks on specific topics as we cover it again. We started this study with a look at the Louisiana Purchase and went until 1890 when the U.S. Census Bureau declared the west "settled". 

However, on our time line we started off with the date of birth of Daniel Boone and add in other significant dates like the birth of Tatankya Iyotake called by the whites Sitting Bull. People like this  truly embody the spirit of the west and we feel like our study would not be complete in at least mentioning them on our time line.

Dates we focused on:

1734-Daniel Boone is born.

1789-James Fenimore Cooper is born.

1803-In the Louisiana purchase, the U.S. Government buys 530 million acres of land from France for $15 million.

1804-In May, Lewis & Clark began their expedition known today as the Corps of Discovery to look for a western water route to the Pacific Ocean.

1806-Lewis and Clark return after reaching the Pacific Ocean.

1831-Tatankya Iyotake, called by the whites, Sitting Bull, was born.

1836-Defeat at the Alamo. Later, the Republic of Texas wins independence from Mexico. Also, the first McGuffey’s Reader was published.

1841-The first wagon train of pioneers cross the Rocky Mountains.

1843-A group of 1,000 pioneers leaves Independence, Missouri, on the Oregon Trail.

1845-Magazine editor, John L. Sullivan, is the first to describe the idea of Manifest Destiny.

1846–Buffalo Bill is born.

1849-More than 80,00 gold miners flood into California’s gold fields.

1861-The War Between the States begins.

1865-The War Between the States ends; Construction on the transcontinental railroad begins.

1869-The Central Pacific and Union Pacific railroads meet at Promontory Summit, Utah, opening cross- country travel. (First Transcontinental Railroad)

1876-One June 17, Crazy Horse and 500 warriors make a surprise attack on U.S. troops on the Rosebud River. On June 25, Lakota defeated George Custer’s soldiers at the Battle of Little Big Horn.

1877-Crazy Horse surrenders to General Crook at Fort Robinson, Nebraska. He is killed later that year.

1889-Nearly 100,000 “Boomers” in Oklahoma join in land scramble when the signal is given.

1890-Sitting Bull is shot and killed by Lakota police sent by the U.S. government.

1890 The U.S. Census Bureau declares the west settled and the “frontier” closed.

              To help you round out your topic for this unit, we have a separate unit for Lewis and Clark, Daniel Boone and Native Americans of the Plains. The pioneers would have crossed paths with several Native Americans and the Plains Indians would have been one group.

 This is a picture of one of the younger one's lapbook. There are some more pictures at the end of this page of some of the of the other co-op members lapbook.






 Timeline trifold


 About the Pony Express:

Before 1860 the mail routes from the Eastern United States to California were not very reliable. There was not an official mail service like there is today. Mail went on ships to Panama and was carried across the tropical jungles and then reloaded on a west coast ship, taking about twenty two days. William H. Russell of the freighting firm Russell, Majors & Waddell believed mail should have its own service that could guarantee delivery. He developed the Pony Express and boasted that it could get mail from St. Joseph, Missouri to Sacramento, California, faster than any other company. He hoped that the Pony Express would solve the mail delivery problem until the telegraph lines could be completed.

The Pony Express lasted only 16 months before the transcontinental telegraph put it out of service. The founders were heavily in debt and lost $100,000.00.


                                                   Pony Express - Download Pop Up  


This picture captures the spirit and belief they had of Manifest Destiny. It is the belief that the United States is destined to expand across North America.


 Flora and Fauna of the West 

  This download on Animals of the West has a pocket and the following fact cards. It could be used for an older child. 



        American Bison & Red Fox                Grizzly Bear & Pronghorn Antelope


                Grey Wolf & Elk                            Western Badger & Western Tanager

Dnload here Fauna of the West Pocket & Fact Cards - older child

 This download on Animals of the West matches the baby to his momma (Where is your baby?). It has a pocket and the following fact cards. It could be used for a younger child.


American Bison Calf                    Big Horn Lamb                   Blue Grouse Chicks


Canada Goose's Gosling            Coyote Pup                         Gray Wolf Pups

Red Fox Pup 

Dnload here Fauna of the West Pocket & Fact Cards - younger child

   This download on Plants of the West has a pocket and the following fact cards. It can be used for an older child. 



Arrowleaf Balsam Root & Wood's Rose             Big Bluestem & Black Cottonwood


Oregon Bitterroot & Blue Elderberry      Western Red Cedar & Blue eyed Mary

 Flora of the West Pocket & Fact Cards - older child 


 This is a flip book for a younger child to cut/paste.

  Root, Stalk and Leaves - younger child 


 Frontiersmen, Mountain Men & Fur Trappers 


 Mountain Men and Fur Trappers were brave individuals in history who  placed their mark upon the unexplored and unsettled American West.

The search for fur bearing animals was responsible for much of the early exploration of the West.

Mountain men and early emigrants found trapping to be lucrative or a very important source of money. It was hard and dangerous work because much of the work was done during the winter when the animal pelts or fur were the thickest. The trapping was so successful that some of the species became threatened. Wolves, coyotes, bobcats and cougars preyed on the growing herds of the settlers and were killed as predators.  

   These mountain men dressed in shirts and trousers made of leather. Porcupine quills decorated their shirts. Around their necks they hung pouches carrying pipes, some tobacco, molds to make bullets, and other small things of value.

During the harsh winters, mountain men often lived with the Indians. They learned their language and customs. From them they also learned the survival skills needed when living alone. Like the Indians, the trappers ate well when game was plentiful. But when meat was scarce, they lived off the land as well as they could.

After hunting during the winter and tending their traps in the fall and spring, it was time to get together with other mountain men. In July, the fur traders met at a place they chose the year before. It was called the rendezvous. Rendezvous was a time of singing, dancing, shouting, trading and acting wild. It was also a time to tell stories and practice target shooting.

Jedediah Smith was considered the most famous of all mountain men and an explorer. In his travels he discovered a coastal trade route from California to Fort Vancouver

The time of the mountain men began when William Henry Ashley and others went trapping on the upper Missouri River in 1822. In continued for the next 15 years when trappers like James Bridger, Thomas Fitzpatrick and Louis Vasquez explored the West. By 1840, the fur trade had declined. Too, beaver hats began going out of fashion. So the mountain men took on a new job of leading others along the rugged Oregon Trail.

       Buffalo Bill

  Buffalo Bill tiny book and pocket  

Daniel Boone

 This tiny book can be added to this unit or click here to go to a complete lapbook on this site for Daniel Boone

  Daniel Boone tiny book and pocket   


James Fenimore Cooper

1789 - 1851. James Fenimore Cooper was an American author know for his novels, The Last of the Mohicans, The Deer Slayer, and The Prairie. His novels reflected frontier life, Native Americans and even his early life a sea.   

James Fenimore Cooper tiny book and pocket



When we did this unit study, we found out that frontiersman really embodied the American West spirit but without art like this picture by George Caleb Bingham named Daniel Boone Escorting Settlers Through the Cumberland Gap, the pioneers would not have visualized the land of opportunity. 



 George Caleb Bingham and Albert Bierstadt   

 Download mini book and art pictures here 


 California Gold Rush '49


 Download 49ers book here  

  Battle of the Alamo 1836 

  Mini alamo book    


Manifest Destiny  

 Download Manifest Destiny  


   Barrel of Words


  Oregon Trail 


Supplies for Trail copy/paste book 


Oregon Trail Wagon

 This 15 page download includes the following minibooks and can be downloaded below:


    Prairie Schooner Top Flap         Landmarks along the Trail:

                                              Devil's Gate, Independence Rock & Chimney Rock


Praire Schooner Bottom Flap        Disease on the Trail: Cholera


     Fan Book Cover    Fan Book - older child       Fan Book-younger (no writing)

Picture for front/back of lapbook/notebook page

15 page Oregon Trail Book


 Data Dividers 

 Banners to divide data or for the top of your page

One divider for Lewis & Clark Expedition and one Westward Expansion 


Pecos Bill by Steve Kellogg


 Copy Work-full page trace    Copywork- half page trace


 Writing Prompt: Pecos Bill TALL Tale




 Transportation Graduated Book



 Transcontinental Rail Road



 Game and game cards

  Coloring Pages 


Dnload here. Westward Ho 1        Dnload here. Westward Ho 2      

Dnload here. Westward Ho 3 


Co-op Pictures 

 Learning the Virginia Reel is a nice group activity to teach them. So at this first class, we started teaching them the dance. The words and music are easy to find on line. We also googled and found You Tube videos to show how to do the steps. You just need a caller, or someone who knows the steps. Since my sister does "civil war reenactments and is familiar with  that time period, she was our "teacher" caller. My sister is another picture a couple more pictures down.


  Then when we had our field trip  or culminating activity. Everybody came in period dress and were "experts" by now at the Virginia Reel. Of course we brought an extra change of clothes and played games since we stayed all day at the park. Some of the games we played were the sack race (we used pillowcases)  and wheelbarrow race.



Above Pic. - All Pioneers and Native Americans pose for one big picture. MM, I think we have a couple of "sheriffs" in there too. LOL Never know on the "Trail" when you might need one.LOL

Pic. Above - Just our frontier women and our mountain men and guides in this picture.

Pictured above - Just our Native Americans that might surprise along the trail...lol

 Here are some of our moms "period dress". Vikki one of our moms used her old wedding dress.LOL  

 Here is my sister in one of her period dress outfits that she had sewn for her.



 Traveling Trunks Info for your Discussion

As a group, we ordered three traveling trunks from Jefferson National Expansion Memorial Museum in St. Louis, Missouri. I don't think they have a website, but here is the info:

Jefferson National Parks Association - Diane Weber-Educational Specialist. 11 North Fourth Street, St. Louis, Missouri 63102. Phone number: 314.655.1635

What is a traveling trunk? They are mini-museums bringing a little bit of history to your co-op. Each trunk contains a variety of "hands on" objects like clothing, photographs, books, CDS, tools and items from that time period. It also has activity sheets and a teacher's guides. Most museums drop ship the trunk to you and send you a shipping label so that UPS or FED X picks up the trunk at a certain date as well. They are loaned to your for a certain time period, like two weeks. The ones we ordered only costs 35.00 each.

 We ordered three for our group of about 70 members, but you can decide how many you want. The trunks we ordered were "Lewis and Clark" "Mountain Men" and "Overlanders" (Oregon Trail).

 More Lapbook Pictures

 These pictures are from Chelly, one of our other members in our co-op. It just shows the beauty of variety when you study this topic together. Her and her kids did a super job!!

For the cover she used a  brown take out bag for food from Chili's Restaurant. Here is what she said:

After studying about Lewis and Clark, we decided to mimic the look of their leather covered journals for our lap book.
The cover is made from a large brown paper bag with handles, the kind you get from a restaurant. ( I think this was from Chili's To Go). I cut down each side to have a big flat surface, removed the handles (one of which will be used to bind the journal together) and cut it slightly bigger than the legal size file folder.  I took it outside and used a barbecue lighter to set the edges on fire, just for a few seconds, then I stomped it out. I continued to do this until all the edges were done. Then, I burned holes in a couple of places in the middle or just wherever I wanted. Now, it was ready to glue to the legal size file folder. The kids then colored the holes in that were exposing the manila file folder with different browns and black colors.
Next, I had to cut the holes in the cover and all the remaining folders that would be the pages of our journal/ lap book. This was a little tricky, but the most important part is to start with the cover and just use it as a pattern for the other folders. You want to make sure that all the holes line up. Now it is ready to bind together. Just use one of the handles of the brown bag, it is almost the perfect length to weave in and out of each hole. The great thing about this is you can always add more folders as you need them. Just wait till the very end to glue the ends of the handle down. 
Cover laid out flat

Sacagawea matchbook, flora/fauna pockets


All about Pony Express with pop up book 

 Pop up book opened




 Timeline trifold, data divider, Louisiana Purchase and Barrel of Words minibooks


 Other useful links:

 A Pioneers and The Oregon Trail Squiddo Lens by Pamela. Continue your search here by the wonderful resources she has listed. :o)  



Some of My Favorite Fun Resources to Make Learning About this Time Period Come Alive!

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