Westward Expansion

The fifth graders and I worked on a project together to answer the question, "How did the United States grow from the 13 original states to the 50 we have now?" Obviously, there are many factors that contributed to the westward expansion of the United States. I selected 35 key events, inventions, discoveries, etc. that were instrumental in the growth of the US and assigned one to each of the 34 students. 

I assigned myself the discovery of gold at Sutter's Mill in Coloma, CA in 1848. (The kids studied the Gold Rush in-depth last year as 4th graders and even went to a 3-day Gold Rush Camp, so it wouldn't have been fair for one of them to get that one.) I modeled putting a summary sentence (or two) at the top of the paper, then illustrating it with pictures that help explain the concept. This was my sample:

I put it together as a slideshow with the events in chronological order. The slides without pictures were assigned to students who did not turn in their work. 

Did you learn anything new about the Westward Expansion of the United States? I hope so!

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