CA CCSS 4.3.2 – Compare how and why people traveled to California and the routes they traveled (e.g., James Beckwourth, John Bidwell, John C. Fremont, Pio Pico).
This activity is designed for fourth-grade students in California. This lesson will be tied into the California history unit on the Gold Rush and Westward expansion. My goal is for students to understand the dangers of the route and consider why pioneers would still embark on the trip.
In this lesson, students will explore a map of the Pony Express Trail on Google MyMaps. Students will move along the trail and do research on the various stops along the way from the East to West on the hunt for gold. They will work together and determine the challenges of traveling through these locations. They will then create an opinion piece on whether or not they would take this trail if they were pioneers.