Americans Move West

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As towns and cities along the East Coast grew, Americans began to look west. In this Grade 2 Core Knowledge History and Geography unit, students will see the new developments in transportation that helped make this happen. Canals, steamboats, wagon trains and, ultimately, the Transcontinental Railroad all took settlers west where they found new ways of living. The Gold Rush took them to California to mine for gold, and promises of new land to farm and wide open spaces, as well as jobs along the railroad, helped keep the settlers moving west.

Students will experience the great adventures on the new frontier, and see the courage of people like Daniel Boone and the riders of the Pony Express. They will discover the innovations of Robert Fulton and DeWitt Clinton. But they will also come to know of the negative impact of the westward movement, as the Native Americans who had lived on the land for centuries were forced to adjust, and often to move. Core Knowledge works to introduce students to difficult realities such as the Trail of Tears and the loss of great numbers of the American bison in an age appropriate manner, without shying away from the truth. 

Finally, they will learn about Sequoyah, and his creation of a system to make a written form of the Cherokee language.