American History Layered Unit
Grade 2

Jennifer Might


December 16, 2008 


Students will learn about the opportunities and challenges presented by westward expansion.  They will be able to describe the new forms of transportation and communication established by westward expansion.  They will also discuss the effects of westward expansion on Native Americans.  

Social Studies Standards:

Strand 1, Concept 5, P.O. 1-5

Layer C

Teacher will present unit by introducing the concept of westward expansion in the United States and when it began.  The presentation will include the reasons people were immigrating to the United States including economic opportunity and also political and religious freedom. 

The students will then have a choice of two different seatwork activities that review the information presented by the teacher.  One activity will be reading additional information and answering questions.  A second activity will match pictures to statements of information presented by teacher. 

Layer B

Students will work in groups to answer questions about westward expansion.  Each group will get to choose the question they want to answer.  The groups will then present their answers to the class.  After presenting their answers they will ask the class for additional comments. 

Why would people leave the comfort of their homeland to journey west?

What challenges would pioneers face as they journeyed west to new lands?

How do you think they traveled?

How did they communicate to others across the country?

How did this expansion affect Native Americans?

How did this expansion affect wildlife?

Layer A

Students will choose one of the following projects to present to their class: 

Create a timeline showing significant events of Westward Expansion. 

Role-play a presentation from the perspective of a Native American leader. 

Create a Venn Diagram comparing pioneers and Native Americans. 

Draw a mural of a scene depicting life during Westward Expansion. 

Debate the formation of Native American Reservations.