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Handcarts of Knowledge

Time Frame

2 class periods of 45 minutes each

Group Size

Large Groups


Utah LessonPlans


The lesson covers the handcart companies that travelled to Salt Lake between 1856 and 1860. Students will come to understand who these individuals were and what it was like for them to travel to Utah.


Included in the lesson plan are a pre-test a picture of a handcart a map of the route taken by the handcart pioneers and a follow up assignment.

Background for Teachers

The teacher will need a general understanding of the American westward movement of this time period.

Intended Learning Outcomes

To appreciate the pioneer heritage of the state and to better understand the hardships endured by the handcart pioneers.

Instructional Procedures


The pre-test is designed to arouse student curiosty about the handcart companies as well as the conditions that surrounded their use. Following the pre-test, a class discussion would be led in which the class members share their ideas about handcarts and suggest reasons why 3000 people would choose to pull handcarts 1300 miles through unfamiliar terrain inhabited by unfriendly Indians.

Administer the handcart companies' pre-test.

Present a lecture describng the handcart companies' journey to Utah and display the picture of the handcart.

Discuss with the students the types of people who typically made up a handcart company.

While displaying a map of the route taken by the handcart companies, discuss the hardships and tradegies suffered by the immigrants.

Give the students the post lecture assignment. The assignment is entitled: Handcarts of Knowledge.


Hafen, Leroy R. and Ann Handcarts to Zion 1856-1860. (The Arthur H. Clark Company, )
Harmer, Mabel The Story of the Mormon Pioneers. (Deseret News Press, )
KUED Media Solutions, Utah Collections Multimedia Encyclopedia (UCME) (, )

Created: 01/29/1997
Updated: 02/05/2018