UEN Security Office
Technical Services Support Center (TSSC)
Eccles Broadcast Center
101 Wasatch Drive
Salt Lake City, UT 84112
(801) 585-6105 (fax)
3 class periods of 45 minutes each
This lesson helps illustrate the importance of the railroad in the settlement of the west.
Enduring Understanding: Students will understand the development of the American West following the Civil War.
Copies of the The Homestead Act of May20,1862 andThe Pacific Railway Act July 1, 1862 for each student.
Teachers should be aware of the role the completion of the transcontinental railroads played in the settlement of the American West.
It would be helpful if students had some familiarity with primary documents.
Adapted from a lesson plan created by Joan Brodsky Schur
Activity 1 With your class view a political map of the United States in 1860. (see attached)
Step 1 Ask the class to imagine that they are living in 1860 when a political map of the United States looked like this. Ask the class the following questions:
Step 2 Ask students to consider the following:
Step 3 Now ask students the final two interrelated questions of this part of the lesson:
Step 1 As a class, answer the following questions about the Homestead Act of 1862:
Step 2 As a class, answer the following questions about the Pacific Railway Act of 1862:
Step 1 Divide the class into three groups and ask each group to do the following:
PBS video The West Episode 5 "The Grandest Enterprise Under God"
Students will be assessed on active participation in class. Students will also be assigned a multi paragraph essay answering the following questions:
Joan Brodsky Schur, New Perspectives on the West web site, www.pbs.org/weta/thewest/lesson_plans/lesson01.htm