Month: December 2010

We are finishing our first part of the unit on Settling the West. Students examined mining, railroads, cowboys and farming. Mining showed the lure of gold, which connected to the building of the Transcontinental Railroad from 1863-1869. People wanted quick transportation and this helped connect all peoples together, giving a symbolic sense of unity after a long-fought civil war. Cowboys came to life as we explored the drudgery of long hours and tedious work driving thousands of cattle to the railways. We also looked at the myth and realities of the “Wild West” and cow towns. Finally, we studied the impact of farmers on the west and the exciting events of the Oklahoma Land Rush. In the New Year, we will delve into the impact of this settling on the Native Americans and their culture.

Students have recently been assessed on our Reconstruction unit. At the end of last week, we started our new unit of study on Settling the West. This content is very dynamic as we will explore the traditional role of the cowboy (with some lesser known trivia) and also look at various other groups who all had one thing in common—challenges! Whether you were sod busting on the Great Plains, driving the cattle to railways, making your attempt at securing your piece of gold treasure and even trying to hold onto your culture and land, you had to be a person who could overcome obstacles both external and internal. This will be a frequent them as we continue to visualize the dream of many in securing this nation’s “Manifest Destiny.”