Teaching American History Project Lesson
  Beth Bates

Name: Beth Bates

Grade Level: 8th, U.S. History

Lesson Title: Impact of the Railroad

NV Standard H2.(6-8).4:  Identify and explain the importance of immigrant and native groups to mining, ranching, railroads, and commerce in Nevada and the United States

EQ: How does transportation facilitate or hinder change in the West?

HQ: How did the construction of the railroad provide opportunities for people in the West?

I will help my students learn this by:

  • Showing picture of Union Pacific Railroad @ 1ooth Meridien while reading the opening page of The U.P. Trail (1918) by Zane Grey along with author’s dedication to Robert Louis Stevenson’s excerpt from Across the Plains, (published 1892).
  • Use ELMO to show National Geographic map of “Major Railroads before 1900” found on p. 558 in textbook.  Students answer #1 & 2 and partner check.
  • Provide two excerpts from The U.P. Trail and have students partner-read and write down 3 descriptions of railroad activities: 
    1. Engineering aspects & immigrant workers
    2. Town life during construction
  • Show photographs of “Joining the tracks of the transcontinental railroad” and “End of the Track”  near Humboldt River Canyon, Nevada.
  • Show map on p. 169 of Railroad of Nevada and Eastern California

What my students will do:

  • Listen attentively and write a one – two sentence summary of opening pages of U.P. Trail.
  • Answer map questions on p.558 and partner-check.
  • Have students stand and play Summary Ball Toss after reading brief excerpts from The U.P. Trail
  • Fill out Photo Analysis Worksheet of “Joining the Tracks” and “End of the Track.”
  • Look at map on p. 169 in the book Railroads of Nevada and Eastern California and identify towns that developed along the railroad.

Assessment: Evidence of my students’ learning looks like this:

  • Completion of photo analysis worksheet – U.P. Railroad at 100th meridian.
  • Completion of map questions 1 and 2.
  • Written description of railroad construction activities with oral summary.
  • Completion of photo analysis worksheets: “Joining the Tracks” & “End of the Track.”
  • SmartBoard presentation: 
    1. Look at photograph of Minden, Nevada circa 1906 and read the brief article from a special edition of the Record-Courier in 1909.
    2. Write a summary of the newspaper article with your impressions of the impact of the Virginia & Truckee Railway upon the development of Minden.  Answer the historical question!
  • Alternative for diverse learners:  On map of western United States, draw the Union Pacific railroad route and identify Promontory Point where the U.P. met the Central Pacific.  Identify the state capitals and place a dot on map where major railroad towns grew up.  Explain how time zones developed as a result of railroads and show where they are.

Bibliography of Teacher Resources: