To introduce the Homestead Era of United States history, students will read a summary of the Homestead Act of 1862. Through classroom discussion the conditions required to "prove up" a homestead will be listed. Students will be given a scenario and an 1870 catalogue to complete a graphic organizer to decide if they would make the move west. They will write a short essay of their decision.
Using classroom discussion and brainstorming introduce the concepts of westward expansion and decision making.
If the student decided not to go, the essay should include their reasons why they are not going and what they will do with their money. They should make up an occupation and where they live.
Completion of the graphic organizer and the essay from journal. The essay should clearly state if the student has decided to go or not to go to Washington state and why or why not. If going, the essay should include how much money they have decided to spend to get ready to go, how much they will spend while on the trip and how much they think they will need once they get to Washington. They should also include how far they expect to travel in one day (20 miles, if dry, 10 miles, if raining). Typically, the trip required four months to complete. If the student decided not to go, the essay should include their reasons why they are not going and what they will do with their money.