Home School Life Journal From Preschool to High School

Home School Life Journal ........... Ceramics by Katie Bergenholtz
"Let us strive to make each moment beautiful."
Saint Francis DeSales

Teaching High School Students About Primary and Secondary Sources

In this third part of this series, we will be looking at primary and secondary sources, including identifying and evaluating them.

from Hands-On History: Old Photographs

Evaluating Sources

The first thing your student should note when evaluating resources is to whether they are primary or secondary sources. I usually like my students to do some activities that give them some experience with primary sources documenting by having them collect oral interviews, analyze photographs and do some research at a cemetery. They will easily begin to realize the importance of primary documents. This will also help them to see that all documents are subject to human viewpoint. This leads naturally into the concept that other evidence which reports the same information strengthens an argument.
Taking of Mary Jemison
Painting / Robert Griffing

Comparing Primary and Secondary Source Documents

We then look at primary source documents written by other people. I like to use Captured By Indians: Mary Jemison Becomes an Indian by Mary Jemison. We also read Indian Captive: The Story of Mary Jemison by Lois Lenski so that we can compare the primary and secondary sources. Students can also evaluate the painting, Taking of Mary Jemison by Robert Griffing.
from Hands-On History: Cemeteries

Reliability of the Information

This leads to a discussion about how the reason why the person gave the statement of evidence plays a part in how we can evaluate it. Was it meant to be a public or private statement? A private statement said in confidence is more likely to reflect the speaker's true observations or feelings. How soon after the event the statement was made also colors the statement.
from Hands-On History:Oral History Interviews

What is the difference between middle school level and high school level learning?

Middle school students can begin to learn about primary and secondary sources, but by high school, students should be skilled in knowing the difference between the two and be able to begin evaluating sources.

In the next post, we will begin looking at the different types of reasoning and their fallacies.

Pioneers, part 4: Landmarks on the Overland Route

part 4: Landmarks on the Overland Route 

Monday: Timeline

Have your student add to his timeline: 1841: The first overland wagon train, led by John Bidwell, to make the entire trip.  The small wagon train left together at Independence, Missouri. At Soda Springs,  Idaho,  half went on the Hedspeth Cutoff to California and half went on to  Oregon.

Tuesday: Research: Landmarks and Signposts

Have your student research landmarks and signposts pioneers saw, writing a short description of each in their notebooks.
Courthouse Rock
Jail Rock
Chimney Rock
Scott's Bluff
Independence Rock
Devil's Gate
Split Rock
South Pass
Natural Bridge
Soda Springs,  Idaho
The Dalles

  • Have your student determine the distance between each landmark.
  • Invite your student to make a model of a landmark.

Wednesday: Writing

You are now about 480 miles west of the Missouri River and you have been on the trail about one month.  You are following the Platte River.  What kind of terrain do you see? Are there any flowers or trees? What kind of grass is available for the cattle?

Thursday: The Role-Play

Water still is a problem. You think your luck is about to change as you see a well in the distance,  but as you come closer you see that the people around it are not people getting water, but are people guarding the well. What do you do?
If he decides to fight the men for the water, roll as for any attack. If he decides to sneak up on well and loses the sneak roll, the guards see him and a fight breaks out.

One of your party fell over a stone and landed in the fire last night while cooking dinner and burned both hands. To recover, you must write a research paragraph (50-100 words), with sources indicated, on burns and how they were treated. 100 DP's for a good paragraph, 200 DPs if an acceptable paragraph is turned in. If no paragraph is turned in, the burns become infected and you lose 2 EFs.

The wagon train's dogs have been running wild over the Prarie at night, howling and chasing coyotes and other animals.  A number of people are complaining that the dogs are keeping them awake. Several people have said that they will shoot the next dog that howls tonight. Your guide is calls for a brief wagon train meeting to decide what to do. Tell the Games Master/Teacher what the group's decision is. If your student chooses to restrain the dogs to keep them closer to the wagon train at night or some other solution to continue using the dogs as an important warning system, the wagon train continues without delay. 100 DP's if he chooses a solution which basically ignores the concerns of those who are upset by the dogs, allowing them to shoot the next howling dog. 400 DP's if no solution is offered.

Your daughter  (if he hasn't a daughter,  the daughter of a friend or of nearby wagon acquaintance) fell off the wagon seat, the wheel rolled over her leg and broke it. It will be a number of weeks before she will heal. You must write a research paragraph, as before, on how a broken leg was treated. 100 DP's for a good paragraph,  400 DP'S for an unacceptable paragraph and 400 DP's and 1 EF for no paragraph turned in.

The yolk on your oxen breaks and you need to spend time repairing it. It takes longer if you do not have a repair kit.

Friday: Writing Research Paper

Your student should now begin deciding on a topic for his research paper. It can come from the notes he has been taking, or he can think of a new topic to explore.

High School American Government, Part 11: The President

What are the powers and responsibilities of the president?

  • Set policy priorities
  • Manage economy
  • Manage federal bureaucracy
  • Recruit for policy makers in executive and Judicial branches

What powers are granted to the president by the Constitution? Any limitations?

  • Chief administrator
  • Chief diplomat
  • Commander in Chief
  • Chief of state
  • Limited by term

How are the responsibilities and power of the president as the nation's chief executive carried out?

  • Executive order
  • Appointments and Removals
  • Budgetary recommendations to Congress

What are the roles and responsibilities of the vice president?

  • Prepare to assume the role of president
  • Presides over the US Senate
  • Whatever roles assigned to him by the President
  1. The president is expected to be responsible for all of the following except:
    1. presiding over the Senate in case of a tie-vote
    2. administering the federal bureaucracy
    3. expressing the nation's sentiments during a time of crisis
    4. presenting the State of the Union Address each year
    5. actually the president is expected to be responsible for all these above things
  2. The right of the executive branch to withhold confidential communications from other branches of government is known as:
    1. administrative censure
    2. executive privledge
    3. the national security exception
    4. executive classification prerogative
    5. cloture
  3. The Institutional Power of the president increased because of all of these reasons except:
    1. Foreign policy crises created an Imperial presidency
    2. The Supreme Court recognized many unilateral executive orders as having force of law
    3. The president's role in the budget increased with the professionalization of the executive branch
    4. Congress became weak
    5. The loss of the right of pardon
  4. Formal regulations governing the executive branch operations are known as:
    1. presidential directives
    2. executive directives
    3. presidential orders
    4. executive orders
    5. executions
  5. The main source of national policy initiatives is the: 
    1. cabinet
    2. president
    3. Congress
    4. Federal Bureauracy
    5. the courts
  6. The office that is responsible for the overall coordination of the intelligence activities of the US government is the:
    1. Defense Intelligence Agencey
    2. Central Intelligence Agency
    3. National Security Agency
    4. Director of National Intelligence
    5. The office of the Vice President
  7. The legislation passed after the Vietnam War, which attempted to limit the war making powers of the president, was the:
    1. The Neutrality Act
    2. Executive Defense Restriction Amendment
    3. Armed Forces Deployment Resolution
    4. Defense Appropriations Act
    5. War Powers Resolution
  8. The Constitution stipulates that the Vice President is to:
    1. prepare himself for the presidency
    2. represent the government at funerals of dignitaries
    3. preside over the Senate
    4. preside over the cabinet in the absence of the president
    5. stay in the country at all times
  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 5
  4. 4
  5. 2
  6. 4
  7. 5
  8. 3

High School American Government

Teaching High School Students About Assertions and Assumptions

This is the second installment in my series on how to make a low or no cost high school level studies without the use of a curriculum. This week I am discussing assertions and assumptions.

Begin by teaching the concept of an assertion. An assertion is just a statement, claim or main point concerning a particular issue. It can usually be found as the thesis of an article, or sometimes it can be found in the conclusion,  particularly if it is a very short argument.

Assumptions or reasons offered to support a conclusion is called a premise. Assumptions are ideas or opinions that the writer takes for granted the reader will agree with. (I will go more into the types and problems of assumptions later.)

Your student can locate an assertion by asking the question, "What is the writer trying to convince me of or prove?" There are some words that your student can look for that give clues that an assertion or conclusion is being stated: therefore, then, so and thus. Look through an article or two that has a stated assumption with your student and have him pick out the assertion or conclusion of the article.

Unstated assumptions can be a little more tricky to recognize. To find these, I use the classic form of  Premise, Premise, Conclusion. The classic example of this form is:
Premise: Socrates is a man.
Premise: All men are mortal.
Conclusion: Therefore, Socrates is mortal.
I usually teach more about this type of logic with the Classical Logic workbook, Traditional Logic, but it is not necessary as long as your student is able to pick out the unstated parts of the arguments in articles. Any time a premise is left out of the argument,  the author is making an assumption. I like to look at newspaper articles because they often have assumptions. I have the student answer the question, "What has to be true for the conclusion of the article to be true?" Assumptions are often related to beliefs and values. Words such as good, bad, right, wrong, justified, should or should not are clues that the writer is giving his value judgement. It might be good at this point for your student to learn more about the author of the piece. Whatever he can learn about the author might give him clues as to why he wrote this interpretation,  what his values and beliefs are and how this influenced the article. What assumptions does the author make? Does the author have any reason to distort the evidence?

By this point, your student can probably see how important it is to be knowledgeable about the topics related to the articles he will be reading. All those years of gathering facts are beginning to pay off. What he doesn't already know, he should be, at this point, able to research on his own. The best articles have  a lot of data within the article itself to support his argument. This evidence can come from many sources including documents, photographs and statements. Lack of this evidence weakens the whole argument, so your student should look out for sources cited (and later when they write their own papers, they will see the importance of citing their own sources). Help them look for citations and quotations.

So, what is the difference between middle school level and high school level learning?

Begin to show your middle school student assertions and assumptions in articles so that by the time he is in high school he will be able to be able to read an article and easily pick out what the assertions and assumptions of any article presented to him. This leads to his also being able to evaluate this sources of the article and the reasoning behind the article's premise, which I will discuss in future posts.

In the next post in this series, I will discuss evaluating sources.

Pioneers, part 3: Weather and the Landforms

part 3: Weather and the Landforms 



Have your student add to his timeline: Late 1830's: Missionaries began developing the Oregon Trail.


Begin reading a novel or a nonfiction book of length about the pioneers. Invite your student to reflect on the readings in their notebooks.

Tuesday: Research: Weather on the Overland Route

The weather played a key role in the pioneers' westward migration. Specific weather data can be obtained from Government Depository Libraries. Have your student research what the weather was like for each of the following locations and weeks in 1844, 1852 and 1864.
Independence,  Missouri; 1st week of May
Fort Kearney; 1st week of June
Fort Laramie; 2nd week of July
Fort Boise; 3rd week of August
Fort Walla Walla; 4th week of September
Oregon City;  2nd week of October
San Francisco;  2nd week of October

Have your student find descriptions of the thunderstorms, sand storms, cold nights, hot days and snowstorms the pioneers encountered.

Wednesday: Writing

Have your student synthesize all he has learned about how the landforms and weather for each geographical region made travel easier or more difficult for the wagon trains and write his conclusions in his notebook. He will be using this information later when he begins making a Travel Guide later.

Thursday: The Progress So Far...


The wagon train has been on the trail for three weeks. Have your student figure out about how many miles does his wagon travel each day? How far has the wagon gone? The wagon train went through Alcove Springs to Fort Kearney and along the south bank of the Platte River. How far is Fort Kearney from Independence, Missouri?

Journal Writing

Write about the most significant things that have happened to you, or what you have seen. Be as descriptive as possible. As well as the significant events, also describe what people do in the wagon train before they go to bed. Describe the morning activities from the time everyone wakes up until the wagon train is on the trail.

Friday: The Role-Play

You are beginning to see the need for the all-purpose weapon to a settler, the rifle. It is used for hunting,  fighting and protection. If you do not have a rifle, subtract 1 EF.

Your wagon train is having some trouble because some members did not bring along water and are suffering from the lack of it. If you have the water, do you sell some to those who do not have it? If you do not have enough water, do you decide to continue without it? Or, do you decide to pool your money with others and buy some from another wagon that brought extra water? Remember that not having the money you spent on the water may become important later when supplies are running low, when you have to pay Indians for crossing their land, or when you need other supplies.

Games-Master / Teacher: If he decides to buy the water but not share it, roll a six-sided die 1-no change, 2-add 1 EF. 3- subtract 1 EF, 4 -no change, 5- subtract 2 EFs, 6- add 2 EFS. If he buys the water and shares it, have him roll a four-sided die and he loses that number of EFs and one head of livestock. If he decides to continue without water, have him roll a six-sided die and he loses that number of EFS and 1 head of livestock.

The heat has shrunk the green wood in your wagon wheels and the iron rims on the wheels keep slipping off. You must stop and repair them. 50% 100 DP'S, 50% 200 DPs.

Sagebrush is three feet high and growing as thick as hair on a hog's back and has clogged up the trail and the wagon cannot pass. You must stop and clear the trail. 50% chance that he will get 200 DPs.

You caught your sleeve on a tree branch and tore it. If you have a sewing kit, it can be repaired,  otherwise you cannot use the shirt. Hopefully,  you have a s pare shirt.

You need to  gather some fresh greens and herbs to supplement your diet. If you have brought along a basket to collect them in, this goes quickly, otherwise it takes you some time and you are delayed.

Pioneers, part 2: The Geography

 part 2: The Geography 

Monday: Timeline

Have your student add to his timeline: 1812: Robert Stuart,  a trapper, and six companions discovered the South Pass and the trails along the Sweetwater and Platte Rivers, which later became known as the Oregon Trail.

Tuesday: Videos

Watch a movie, television show or documentary with pioneers as the theme. Have your student jot down notes in his notebook on observations and questions that came to him as he watched the program. These notes can lead later to a research paper.
Some ideas to get you started:
How the West Was Won
Ken Burns, The West 
Little House on the Prairie 

Wednesday and Thursday: Research: Geography

Have your student locate information about the terrain, landforms and geography of the regions between Missouri and Iowa in the Midwest and Utah, Oregon and California on the west coast. This includes prairies, rivers, deserts, and mountains.
Have your student map all of these features, including the Continental Divide. Have him include the Platte, Snake, Sweetwater and Colombia Rivers. What were some of the hazards of rivers? How did the Pioneers cross the rivers -their wagons and their animals? What gave them problems? Did crossing the rivers differ according to the river they were crossing?
Have your student research and include the following mountains on their map:
Rockies, Blue Mountains,  Cascades and the Sierra Nevadas.
Have him research how the difficulties going down a mountain differed from climbing up a mountain.
Have your student research desert areas and include them on the map.
What made travel in the desert so difficult.

Friday: Role-Play

As the scenario unfolds, you, the Games-Master/Teacher, will be keeping track of the points your student has earned, the wagon current energy factor, and any delay points accrued. The totals of these numbers will determine how far along the wagon has gone each day of game time. At the beginning, the people in the wagon train are healthy, their spirits are high, their animals are well-fed and healthy,  their wagons are in good repair and their supplies are not yet depleted,  so at the beginning each wagon has an energy factor of 50. The total points you student makes on the assignments he has been given x 50. It takes 340 points to move the wagon 100 miles.
As the  trip progresses, supplies diminish, people and animals get sick, wagons begin to fall apart as well as the characters' spirits. These Fates will reduce the Energy Factor number.

Your beginning point is Independence, Missouri. Have your student mark Independence our on his map and note when he left Independence. He meets with the other men.  Who are they? Where did they cone from? There are plenty of women meeting and talking and lots of children playing. The atmosphere is very festive.

Just west of Fort Independence, you already learn that water is vital for survival for your wagon, for both the people and animals. The spring has been extremely dry and so the water you brought with you has become crucially important.  Searching for and collecting water along the trail is risky and time consuming.  If you did not bring water barrels with you, you lose 1 EF. If you only brought 1 barrel, you get 200 DPs. If you were wise and brought more than 1 barrel, you watch as you pass by others in the other wagons in the wagon train collecting water and ending up at the back of the train as they are delayed.

The day is otherwise uneventful  but you are thinking ahead to the eveing meal. As you had a cold lunch, you'll want a hot meal, but first you'll have to start a fire. If you did not bring along firewood, you must spend time throughout the day searching for wood, bushes and buffalo chips since the prairie has very few trees. This takes time and delays your wagon. 200 DP'S if you did not have firewood.

The wagon train has stopped for the night. The women and bachelor men without women in their wagon make the evening meal while the boys and young men feed and water the livestock and milk the cow, if you have one. If you do not have a flint and steel, it takes some time to light a fire.

At night, you settle in the back of the wagon, or, if it is warm enough, the ground around the fire. You learn the importance of a blanket. Anyone in your wagon who foes not have a blanket risks catching a cold, which won't stop you from your duties, but will make you feel miserable. Subsequent nights you have a 25% chance of catching pneumonia,  which will keep you bed ridden for 1d6 days while you recover.

This routine follows for days until one night one of the members of the wagon train failed to make his family fire in a trench and embers blew out and started a prairie fire. You and the other members of the wagon train spent all night and most of the next day fighting the fire. This costs you 600 DP's.

A few days later, your oxen, if you have oxen, ate Loco weed and are too sick to travel. You lose 500 DP's. If you do not have oxen, you possibly see this fate affect another wagon in the wagon train and they fall behind.

Another night, you hear rustling as if someone is walking near. Or, perhaps it is an animal? If you have candles or a lantern, you see that it is a deer. Otherwise, you stay up for some time, worried about what it must be and are very tired the next day. Add/subtract 1 from your rolls.


Pioneers, part 1: Modes of Transportation

part 1: Modes of Transportation 

Monday: Timeline

Have your student begin a timeline that spans from 1803-1869. Have him complete the first entry on it by writing 1803: The Louisiana Purchase: The United States bought the land between the Mississippi River and the Rocky Mountains from France. This can be kept in the back of the notebook or on as a separate item.

Tuesday: Research: Photographs and Pictures

Have your student locate photographs and pictures of westward movement. Encourage your student to write in their notebooks their observations and any questions that might arise as they study the photographs and pictures. These questions can later serve as a basis for a research paper. (More step-by-step directions can be found here: Hands On History: Old Photographs.)

Wednesday: Research: The Prairie Schooner

Have your student research the Prairie Schooner. Have them sketch it in their notebooks and include it's dimensions. Have your student brainstorm what the pioneer families would take with them in order to live for six months, keeping in mind the size of the schooner.

Thursday: Research: The Steamer

Some pioneers took steamships  (or "Steamers") and traveled west by sea. Have your student research steamships of the mid-1800's. Have him sketch a cabin on a Steamer with the typical dimensions of 7 feet by 10 feet. How many passengers would travel in this space?
Have your student research the sea routes to California from the east coast.  What were the advantages and disadvantages of each route? What were some of the dangers?

Friday: The Role-Play Scenario: Creating a Wagon Party

The first decisions about the role-play need to be made by the Games-Master/Teacher. Do you want to run an overland scenario or a sea voyage. I will be giving you the events within a overland scenario,  but many of the same things happened on sea voyages. I will give some suggestions for different events for a sea voyage at the end of this unit for those who would rather do this type of scenario with their students. The sea voyage is particularly good for older students who have already learned about the more traditional Oregon Trail.

Once the Games-Master/Teacher has made his decision, then the student(s) can begin character creation (specifics on how to do this can be found here; scroll down to the purple section). Appropriate skills for the character could be:
Brute Force (pushing, lifting or dragging) STRENGTH + SIZE
Drive horse drawn vehicle over treacherous terrain, etc. DEXTERITY + INTELLIGENCE
Evaluate the market value of an item INTELLIGENCE + CHARISMA
First Aide to heal minor wounds, 1d6 hit points DEXTERITY + INTELLIGENCE
Influence the ability to persuade another to change his mind CHARISMA × 2
Insight the ability to figure out another character 's motivations by listening to their voice, watching their body movements, body language,  etc. INTELLIGENCE + POWER
Perception  ability character has to detect objects or other characters.  It covers such situations as listening for something creeping about, listening for sounds in a distance,  etc. INTELLIGENCE + POWER
Persistence covers situations when trying to concentrate in the face of distractions such as reloading a gun when bullets are flying all around. POWER × 2
Resilience is the ability to handle adverse physical conditions such as weathering a storm, surviving a drought or overcoming the effects of disease. CONSTITUTION × 2
Sing audience being pleased by the character's performance POWER + CHARISMA
Commerce when characters trade, barter or otherwise negotiate over the sale of goods INTELLIGENCE + CHARISMA
Craft such as basket-weaver, butcher, candle-maker, carpenter, mason, etc. DEXTERITY + INTELLIGENCE
Oratory a dressing large groups of people POWER +CHARISMA
Survival test required every day that a character lacks food, water or a safe place to sleep Failure means he will go without, which, over several days, could result in serious consequences POWER +CONSTITUTION
Track locate the tracks of a specific creature and follow them INTELLIGENCE +CONSTITUTION

Have your student imagine a background for his character. Is he moving to Oregon because of failed crops in Illinois and there is land available in Oregon for anyone who wants to work it? How has he heard about Oregon? Perhaps a brother is already there and has written to his character about the wonderful growing conditions for crops there?
Or, perhaps the character wants to go to California because he read an advertisement in the newspaper about an inexhaustible supply of gold that has been discovered in California?
Or, perhaps the character is a Mormon who had settled along the Mississippi River in the southern part of Illinois in 1839? Now it is the 1840's and the Mormons are being persecuted, including the character's leader, Joseph Smith,  who was already killed by a mob of people. The character's new Mormon leader is Brigham Young and he has decided that the Mormons have to move to Utah.

Have your student create his own character that has a historically accurate reason for migrating west, a destination in mind and a background to go with it. Next, he needs to create the party of 4-6 people that will be in his prairie schooner. Is the character the head of the family?  If so, what are the ages and sex of the family members? Or, perhaps he is a single man traveling with his brother and/or friends? Or, perhaps he is bringing his brother's family.


Survival in the wilderness depends on careful planning. Stocking and packing a wagon is serious work. In the mid-1800's covered wagon pioneers took with them some or all of the following 90 items. Your student cannot hold every item on the list, so he will need to select them carefully. He will need to consider the usefulness and importance of each item both on the trail and once he gets to his destination.  Your student's character's fate, even survival, may depend on how wisely your student selects his supplies.
Each item on the list has a number behind it. This is the item's bulk weight (or BW), which is a combination of the item's size and weight. The capacity of the covered wagon is 1000 bulk weight units, so your student will have to keep track of this as he picks his items. The final list must be kept in his notebook with the BW units listed and totaled, as it will be referred to from time to time as the role-play unfolds.

Household Items

Baby cradle  (15)
Bed frame (30)
Bedding (5)
Bible, family heirloom  (2)
Blanket  (3)
Butter churn (10)
Butter mold (2)
Candle sticks, 1 pair (2)
Candles, 5 (1)
Chest, for clothing  (35)
Clock  (5)
Coal oil, 1 gallon (12)
Coffee grinder (3)
Coffee pot (3)
Cooking and serving utensils  (6)
Cooking stove (75)
Dishes, family set (20)
Dutch oven (6)
Fabric, 15 yards  (12)
Family heirlooms (20)
Flint and steel  (2)
Frying pan  (6)
Lantern  (3)
Loom (35)
Mirror  (10)
Sewing kit (2)
Piano or small organ (100)
Pitcher and bowl, for bathing (10)
Plants (10)
Rocking chair  (15)
Rug  (25)
Spinning wheel  (25)
Stool (8)
Table and 4 chairs  (50)
Trunk, for storage (20)
Wooden bucket (5)
Woven basket  (4)

Personal Items

Boots, extra pair (4)
Clothing,  1 person (20)
Children's toys (8)
Eating utensils, 1 person  (1)
Fiddle (5)
First aid kit, enough for a family (10)
Guitar  (6)
Hunting knife  (3)
Pistol (4)
Powder horn (4)
Rifle (10)
Snow shoes (4)


Anvil (40)
Axe (7)
Axle grease  (13)
Bellows for fire (10)
Corn seller (25)
Crosscut saw, two-man (7)
Grain cradle  (10)
Grind stone, large (20)
Hammer (2)
Hatchet  (4)
Hoe (4)
Metal plow (40)
Oxen yolk repair kit (15)
Pick axe (5)
Pitch fork, 3 prong (6)
Rope, 100 feet (6)
Scythe (7)
Shovel  (7)
Steel animal traps, 4 (20)
Tool Assortment  (10)
Twine, 100 feet (1)
Vise (5)


Bacon, 25 pounds (25)
Coffee, 10 pounds  (10)
Dried beef, 25 pounds  (25)
Dried fruit, 10 pounds  (10)
Dried beans, 25 pounds  (25)
Flour, 50 pounds  (50)
Salt, 25 pounds  (25)
Spices, assorted  (1)
Sugar, 20 pounds  (20)
Vegetables, 25 pounds (25)
Vinegar, 3 gallons (24)

Miscellaneous Supplies

Animal feed, for 2 animals (30)
Chicken coop (12)
Gun powder, keg (20)
Olive press (25)
Saddle (25)
Seeds, 50 pound bag (50)
Water barrel,  20 gallon  (160)
Wood box, full of wood (25)

In addition to this list, students may also bring with them up to 6 animals from this list:

In addition, your student can roll for the amount of dollars he has with him to buy items along the way and to start his new life once the trip is complete.
First, roll one six-sided die.
Next, roll that number of six-sided dice.
That is the amount of dollars your student's wagon has with him.
For example, if he rolled a 4 on his first roll, then he rolls 4-six-sided dice. Suppose he then rolled a 3, a 4, a 2 and another 3. Add those up and you get 12, and so he has $12 with him to buy things with.

Next week we research about the geography on the trail and watch videos about pioneers. 

Curriculum and Role-Play: Pioneers

I would like to introduce to you my latest Role-Play Curriculum for Middle and High School students, Pioneers. It is a twelve week curriculum that includes writing, research, hands-on projects and even a bit of math and a field trip suggestion or two. I will be linking each week's lessons to this post for your convenience.

This program is designed for students from Middle School level to High School grades. You will, therefore need to establish for yourself the level which meets the standard for your student(s) grade level(s). The highest level work is complete and has details. The writing should reflect analysis and decision making. Research assignments should be graded on both content and writing skills. They all need to have two resources. Everything should reflect the students' mastery of the material covered.

Students will need a blank notebook to record information. I ask my students to keep wide margins on the left side of their notebook pages and double space their writing  so that they can go back and add questions,  comments and reflections in the margins.

Week 1: Modes of Transportation
Week 2: The Geography
Week 3: Weather and Landforms
Week 4: Landmarks on the Overland Route
Week 5: Plants, Animals and Routes
Week 6: Everyday Life on the Trail
Week 7: Meeting the Elephant
Week 8: Indians
Week 9: On the Trail
Week 10: Rain, Rain, Go Away...
Week 11: Encounters on the Trail
Week 12: The End


(originally published 3/9/`7)