Wild West Lesson Plan for Elementary School

Instructor: Sharon Linde

Sharon has a Masters of Science in Mathematics

Teach your students what was wild about early western America with this lesson plan. Students will read a text lesson explaining the Wild West, interact with content, and apply learning to an activity.

Learning Objectives

After this lesson, students will be able to:

  • identify the time and place of the Wild West
  • describe characteristics of the Wild West
  • explain when and why the Wild West began and ended


1 hour


  • Copies of the text lesson Wild West Facts: Lesson for Kids, one for each student
  • Map of the United States
  • Yellow construction paper (cut into fourths)
  • Scissors
  • Sheriff badge template
  • Safety pins
  • Chart paper and marker
  • Task cards for outlaws, cowboys, Native Americans, pioneers, gunfighters and lawmen

Key Vocabulary

  • Prospectors
  • Westward expansion
  • Barbed wire

Curriculum Standards


Refer to details and examples in a text when explaining what the text says explicitly and when drawing inferences from the text.


Determine the main idea of a text and explain how it is supported by key details; summarize the text.


Explain events, procedures, ideas, or concepts in a historical, scientific, or technical text, including what happened and why, based on specific information in the text.


Determine the meaning of general academic and domain-specific words or phrases in a text relevant to a grade 4 topic or subject area.

Warm Up and Preparation

  • Give each student a piece of yellow construction paper and a sheriff badge template and have them trace, then cut out.
  • Ask students to write their names on the badges, then pin to their shirts.
  • Explain to students that they'll be learning about the Wild West and they will be 'Information Sheriffs.'
  • Show students a wanted poster and explain how they were used in the Wild West to locate people.
  • Now have students make a page in their notebooks titled 'The Wild West' and make a wanted poster beneath, listing the things they want to find out as information sheriffs.
  • Divide students into partners or small groups and have them share their wanted posters, then share as a whole group.
  • Create a whole group wanted poster on chart paper, listing questions students asked.

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