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Welcome to the Sustainability Lesson Clearinghouse

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Sustainability Lesson Clearinghouse

Trekking into the West

Lesson Description:

In this lesson, students look at the history of some of the original modes of transportation in this country before the Industrial Revolution. Students “experience” the realities of traveling by covered wagon, single-rider horse, and paddle-wheel steamboats by playing a game in which they use their mode of transportation to “race” the Oregon Trail.

  • Students will examine the use of pre-industrial modes of transportation in the United States. 
  • Students will identify the advantages and disadvantages of early 19th century forms of transportation, including those related to environmental impact. 
  • Students will evaluate the sustainability of using covered wagons, single-rider horses, and paddle-wheel steamboats to move people and goods.

Lesson Type:
  • Discussion
  • Lecture

Sustainability Topic:
  • Energy

GEF Program Category:
  • I Ride Green

Time Needed:
60-90 minutes
Materials Needed:
  • Trekking into the West Handout (one copy) 
  • Trekking into the West Classroom Presentation

School or Group:
Green Education Foundation (GEF) on behalf of Amtrak
Contact Email:
Tags for searching:
Amtrak , transportation
Located in: Science | Social Studies

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