Life as Pioneers


Object Type: Video Clip
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With the help of Lester Conrad, a pioneer scout, students learn who the pioneers were, experience life as a pioneer, and travel along with pioneers as they leave the crowded cities in the East through the frontier to a better life in the West. Relive the journey through the hardships, sacrifices, accomplishments and glory of the pioneers.

See how the first settlers that moved west were called pioneers and how many challenges they faced settling a new area.

  1. Students will understand the various reasons that pioneers searched past the Appalachian Mountains for new land to settle.
  2. Students will be familiar with the routes and destinations of many early American pioneers.
  3. Students will understand the hardships involved in relocating during the 18th and 19th centuries, as well as the hardships involved in settling in a frontier land.

  1. Diary of a Pioneer. Ask each student to pick an area that they would imagine themselves living in during the 1700s or 1800s. Encourage each student to begin a 'diary,' chronicling his or her living conditions. Ask students to then create entries as they decide whether or not to take a chance by moving to the frontier. Students should continue their diaries as they tell of their trip to their new home, and conclude their entries with a description of life on the frontier. Students should use this video, the library, or the Internet to help them research their 'character.'
  2. Everything in the wagon. Have students research the size of the typical Conestoga wagon. With masking tape, show students on the classroom floor (or outside) how big their wagon would be. As a group, brainstorm the things that a family would need to take to start a new life and what items they would have to leave behind. Encourage students to discuss the differences between moving across country as a pioneer and a cross-country move today.

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