How I Am Connected to the Pioneers

Contributor: Danielle Childers. Lesson ID: 10530

Take an adventure with Lewis and Clark to explore the west! Through videos and online activities, you'll discover what it was like for the pioneers traveling west, and how different their lives were!


United States

learning style
Auditory, Visual
personality style
Grade Level
Primary (K-2), Intermediate (3-5)
Lesson Type
Quick Query

Lesson Plan - Get It!

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Imagine that your parents told you that you were going to be moving across the country in one month. What questions would you have?  Would you wonder how you were going to get there, who you would meet there, how long it would take, or what you could bring?

These questions are similar to those of the children whose parents wanted to take a journey to a new land in America's west.

Once the American Revolution was over, people started going back to their normal lives. Many people saw the possibilities of all the American land yet unsettled by the colonists. They knew they could make good money starting their farms or businesses in this new land. So people started moving west to the unsettled areas. On the map below, the 13 colonies are highlighted in yellow. The tan area is the land not yet settled by the Colonists. Look at the blue arrow and follow it with your finger going west:

westward map

The people moving west were called pioneers. Though the Native-Americans were living on the land, most of the colonists had not ventured into this new land. There were very few towns or cities outside of the 13 colonies.

Traveling into these unknown lands was very dangerous. There were no roads to travel on, so the pioneers had to make trails across mountains, raging rivers, and thick forests. One of the most famous trails was called the Oregon Trail.

How did the pioneers travel without a car? They traveled by covered wagon, using horses and oxen. The pioneers had to travel with food, clothes, and everything they owned in that covered wagon. Sadly, many people did not make it to their destination because they died of diseases or starvation, or because of the weather conditions. If the people did make it to where they wanted to go, they had to clear the land, cut the trees, and build their homes.

Slowly, small towns started to develop. Most people wanted to live around water. Why do think that was? There was no running water in houses back then, so being close to water was very important so they could drink, bathe, and travel more quickly.

Here are some resources for learning about the life of a pioneer child:

Watch A Day in the Life of a Pioneer Child below:

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Now that you've had a taste of pioneer life, travel to the Got It? section to live with the pioneers!

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