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Westward Expansion Unit Plan

Instructor: Anthony Cognata

Anthony has taught multiple grade levels in middle school, coached across contents, and has a master's degree in Educational Leadership.

The following unit plan will help you explore the Westward Expansion with your students. You will find a variety of resources to utilize including activities, project ideas, discussion questions, and lesson plans.

Westward Expansion Unit

As you begin to think about teaching students all about Westward Expansion, it can often feel pretty daunting. There is so much that could be included in a study on Westward Expansion. This unit is meant to explore the time period and hone in on the following:

  • Individuals moved west because they thought that they were going to have more opportunities, riches, etc.
  • The nation as a whole bought into the idea of Manifest Destiny in the 1840s as continued American dominance grew in the region.

Use the outline and various resources below to assist you in helping students understand these concepts.

Pre-Learning

It will help to have an opening discussion or activity to gauge your students' level of knowledge. The following questions or activities are ideas to aid you in your teaching:

  • What was Westward Expansion? Are there any famous historical figures that were involved in this movement that you know? What about key terms associated with Westward Expansion?
  • What positives do you think came from Westward Expansion? What negatives do you think came from Westward Expansion?
  • Show students a collection of paintings and pictures from the period of Westward Expansion. Have students discuss what they see in the pictures and what they think life was like during that time period.

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