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Show Me the Way

Life Skills:

  • Thinking & Reasoning

Time Frame:
2 class periods that run 45 minutes each.

Group Size:
Large Groups


Students will be able to create and identify map legends and symbols by creating a map of the Mormon Trail using landscape features that occured along the Mormon Trail.

A large map of the Mormon Trail.(Use for a visual while the discussion of the Mormon trail is being taught); Paper and colored pencils that the students will use to create maps; Large paper sacks from a grocery store;

Background For Teachers:
Teachers will consider some of the hardships that happened to the pioneers while traveling the Mormon Trail. Be aware of lack of water which would cause people and animals to die. Areas that would not have enough feed to feed the animals. Areas that would be difficult to pull a wagon through because of rocks or water. High mountain passses that would be dangerous.

Intended Learning Outcomes:
Upon completion of the lesson, students will understand the landcape features that were present along the Mormon Trail. The students will understand some of the hardships that occured along the trail by becoming acquainted with different land features that pioneers encountered along the trail. They will also understand how to create a simple map with a legend by using landscape features.

Instructional Procedures:

Video: 'Children of the Wagon Train', Heritage Gateway project link to Various Pioneer Hardships information, or any other source of information that would give students a real look about what kind of hardships the pioneers would have encountered while traveling the Mormon trail.

Show the students the large copy of the map of the Mormon Trail. Ask the students to predict what kind of hardships could have occured to the pioneers while traveling the trail.

Have the students write down their predictions.

Watch the video or read through the Pioneer Hardships information link and have students keep track of the hardships that they predicted would happen along the trail.

After viewing the video or exploring the internet link shown below, discuss what the students saw or read and which hardships they were able to predict.

Narrow the hardships down to hardships that were caused by land features.

Show the map and discuss the location of land features.

Teach the students how the make a legend by using land features as symbols. Have an open discussion about what kind of symbols could represent water, mountains, desert, etc.

Teach them how to organize the map and the legend on the same paper. Use the paper sacks from a grocery store to draw the maps on. After they are finished with their maps, they could crinkle up the sack and press it down again to look like leather.

Web Sites

Assessment Plan:
Students complete a map and legend accurately representing the Mormon Trail and the land features which may indicate the source of the pioneer harships.


Created Date :
Apr 18 1997 17:21 PM

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