Lesson Six: The Transformation of the West

Lesson Plan

This lesson engages students in the analysis of historical sources to attempt to answer the questions, “Why did so
many Americans and new immigrants move west at the end of the 19th century?” and “What was the impact of
this migration?” In small groups, students conduct a historical inquiry to answer this question using maps, census
and land records, railroad ads, and newspaper clippings. In addition, students begin to identify the issues that arose
as new groups competed for resources impacting, in particular, the different American Indian groups who lived in
various parts of the West. Students analyze U.S. Census population data to identify areas of greatest growth in the
Lesson 6: The Transformation of the West (PDF file)

Teacher Resources:

Teacher Resource 6A: American Progress by John Gast (1872)
Teacher Resource 6B: American Progress Explanation

Student Handouts:

Handout Set 6.1: Land (PDF files)
Handout Set 6.2: Railroad Ads (linked below)
a) Burlington & Missouri (from vintageadbrowser.com)
b) Land Ad for Coffeyville, KS (from memory.loc.gov)
c) Independence Arms Co (from vintageadbrowser.com)
Handout Set 6.3: Gold (pdf)
Handout Set 6.4: Adventure (pdf)
Handout 6.5: U.S. Population (pdf)

Lesson Websites:

GIS for History maps

Additional Lesson Resources:

Population Map, 1870
Population Map, 1900
More Maps (If you're interested)

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