Unit 2: Western Expansion

Grade 8: American's migration into the west and its impact


Be sure to read through all of the information linked on the assignment board. Prior to any work being completed every student must complete the pre-test.

Following your submission of the pre-test, review the assignment guidelines/options on the learning contract for Unit 2.

When you have reviewed the learning contract, sign the learning contract here.

Learning Contract Directions

Directions: Throughout the unit in which we will be discussing the American expansion into the west you will be asked to do a number of self directed (on your own) activities listed below. Certain tasks will be required while others will be options you are free to choose from. You must complete enough of the activities below to reach 100 points.

Important Infomation on Grading, Due Dates and Expectations

Due Dates: The Unit will last 5 weeks. You will be required to submit 20 points of assignments by Friday of each week during the unit.

Late Work: Any assignments turned in after your Friday deadline will receive only half credit. You may do additional assignments in future weeks to help you reach the 100 point threshold.

Citizenship/Work Habits: A misuse of class time (behaviors such as being off task, distracting others, not following directions, not following classroom rules) will result in a reduction of points from your required weekly totals. Multiple examples of misusing class time in a period will result in the reduction of 2 points from your weekly total. This may require you to complete additional work in following weeks to make up for your lost points.

Work not meeting assignment guidelines: Any work handed in that does not meet the specific requirements listed under the assignment will result in partial credit. Points will be deducted for each required element missing. All assignments will be required to have appropriate spelling/grammar. Any points lost may be made up in later weeks by adding additional assignments to your weekly total of 20 points. (If you lose 10 points in week one you may complete 30 points worth of assignments in week two)

Required Elements

  • Venn Diagram on Union Pacific vs. Central Pacific (10 points)

  • Create a Western Expansion Board Game with a Partner (20 points)

Task Rubrics

10 Point Options

  • Draw a picture showing the events of Little Big Horn

    • Include who, where, what information in picture. Colorful and neat.

  • Create a T-Chart on the pros and cons for immigrants working on the railroad

    • Needs 4 details on each side of the t-chart

  • Write a newspaper article on the life in boomtowns

    • Include what caused the Virginia City boomtown, negative aspects of life in boomtowns, and a description of life for its residents.

  • Create a campaign poster for the Populist Party

    • Includes two pictures (colored and neat) and a slogan for the party expressing its major platform

  • Create a Journal, with multiple entries, from the perspective of a man on a cattle drive

    • 3 entries on different dates, describes problems they face, locations, weather

20 Point Options

  • Analyze the two perspectives on the Wounded Knee massacre. Write an argumentative response with evidence justifying which side you believe is credible.

    • After reading the two examples write a paragraph with two specific examples from the texts on which one is more credible.

  • Map the route taken by the Nez Perce to evade the U.S. soldiers

    • Using the blank map of the U.S. provided mark 10 points in which the Nez Perce stopped or had conflicts with U.S. troops.

  • Create a brochure getting people to ride on the Union Pacific

    • Include rates, description of riding, sleeping and dining conditions for various classes of cars, popular stops along the way of interest to travelers.

  • Draw a depiction of the impact of the railroad from the Native American perspective

    • Includes color, clearly shows the event from the perspective of Native Americans and shows how it impacted their life.

  • Write 3 letters home as a Chinese immigrant working on the railroad

    • Include working conditions, pay, dangerous weather, dangerous work with explosives, Charles Crooker, discrimination toward the immigrants.