California Content Standards

Fifth Grade    5.8 Students trace the colonization, immigration, and settlement patterns of the American people from 1789 to the mid-1800s, with emphasis on the role of economic incentives, effects of the physical and political geography, and transportation systems.

  • Discuss the waves of immigrants from Europe between 1789 and 1850 and their modes of transportation into the Ohio and Mississippi Valleys and through the Cumberland Gap (e.g., overland wagons, canals, flatboats, steamboats).
  • Name the states and territories that existed in 1850 and identify their locations and major geographical features (e.g., mountain ranges, principal rivers, dominant plant regions).
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the explorations of the trans-Mississippi West following the Louisiana Purchase (e.g., Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, Zebulon Pike, John Fremont).
  • Discuss the experiences of settlers on the overland trails to the West (e.g., location of the routes; purpose of the journeys; the influence of the terrain, rivers, vegetation, and climate; life in the territories at the end of these trails).
  • Describe the continued migration of Mexican settlers into Mexican territories of the West and Southwest.
  • Relate how and when California, Texas, Oregon, and other western lands became part of the United States, including the significance of the Texas War for Independence and the Mexican-American War

Eighth Grade       8.4 Students analyze the aspirations and ideals of the people of the new nation.

  • Describe the country’s physical landscapes, political divisions, and territorial expansion during the terms of the first four presidents.
  • Explain the policy significance of famous speeches (e.g., Washington’s Farewell Address, Jefferson’s 1801 Inaugural Address, John Q. Adams’s Fourth of July 1821 Address).
  • Analyze the rise of capitalism and the economic problems and conflicts that accompanied it (e.g., Jackson’s opposition to the National Bank; early decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court that reinforced the sanctity of contracts and a capitalist economic system of law).
  • Discuss daily life, including traditions in art, music, and literature, of early national America (e.g., through writings by Washington Irving, James Fenimore Cooper).

8.6 Students analyze the divergent paths of the American people from 1800 to the mid-1800s and the challenges they faced, with emphasis on the Northeast.


  • 1. Discuss the influence of industrialization and technological developments on the region, including human modification of the landscape and how physical geography shaped human actions (e.g., growth of cities, deforestation, farming, mineral extraction).
  • 2. Outline the physical obstacles to and the economic and political factors involved in building a network of roads, canals, and railroads (e.g., Henry Clay’s American System).
  • 3. List the reasons for the wave of immigration from Northern Europe to the United States and describe the growth in the number, size, and spatial arrangements of cities (e.g., Irish immigrants and the Great Irish Famine).
  • 4. Study the lives of black Americans who gained freedom in the North and founded schools and churches to advance their rights and communities.

Westward Ho! Graphic Novel

PowerPoint Presentations

Westward expansion
View more presentations from Jolene Berg.

Internet Resources

All About the Oregon Trail      West Expansion Interactive Map

Lewis and Clark      Pioneers     Africans in America   Nation Expands Map

Oregon Trail Game Online     Museum of Westward Expansion

Place the State Game     On the Fringes of the Prairie  Build A Sod House



History.Com Videos, Pics          PBS Lewis &Clark

Mountain Men & Fur Trade Resources   

*Free Ebook   A Pioneer Sampler by Greenwood


How to Spin Wool