top of page


on the

Western Frontier

Changes on the Western Frontier

$160 per month

1 session per week


Allison Bruning


Students will create a a travel guide for Western travelers in the 1870s based on what they learn in this courses and from additional research. They will first determine who their readers are - settlers, cowboys, miners or farmers. The student will then create their guide in parts, as as the following:

1) What to bring (for example, 400 lbs. of flour per person)

2) How to get there (for example, what mode of transportation and route to take and where to stop along the way.)

3) How to avoid dangers (for example, snakes, swollen rivers, lightening, and bandits.)

Students will present their game and how to play the game in the last session. 




13 - 18  years old




Session 1: Native American Cultures in Crisis


Students will identify Great Plains, Homestead Act, exoduster, Sand Creek Massacre, Sitting Bull, George A. Custer, assimilation, Dawes Act, Ghost Dance and Battle of Wounded Knee. 

Students will summarize how the horse and buffalo influenced Native American life on the Great Plains. 

Students will explain why white settlers suddenly flooded the Great Plains.

Students will describe the U.S. government's policy toward Native American land. 

Students will analyze why the Treaty of 1868 was ineffective.

Students will summarize the results of Custer's last stand. 

Students will analyze the Legend of the Buffalo.

Students will summarize how the assimilation policy affected Native Americans.

Students will describe the events that lead to the Battle of Wounded Knee. 

Students will examine the life of Sitting Bull and the relocation of modern day Native Americans onto their ancestral homelands.


1) Complete Section 1 Assessment on page 387.

2) Read pages 388 - 395 in course textbook.

3) Complete the questions in the Interact with History on page 395.

4) Start your course project. 

Session 2: The Growth of the Cattle Industry


Students will review their homework.

Students will identify longhorn, James Butler "Wild Bill" Hickok, Martha Jane Cannary (Calamity Jane) and long drive. 

Students will summarize what the American cowboy tradition owes to the Mexican vaquero. 

Students will describe the developments that led to the rapid growth of the cattle industry.

Students will contrast the real and mythical lives of cowboys

Students will analyze a cowboy's typical day on a long cattle drive.

Students will answer the following questions and justify their answer with facts from the text or other resources.

1) Why do you think the romantic myth of the American cowboy has proved to be so enduring?

Students will analyze the development and importance of The Wild West Show.

Students will describe the events that lead to the end of the cattle industry.

Students will analyze the importance of mining in the West. 


1) Complete Section 2 Assessment on page 393.

2) Read pages 396 - 400 in course textbook.

3) Continue working on your course project. 

Session 3: Settling on the Great Plains


Students will review their homework.

Students will identify homesteader, soddy, Morrill Land Grant Acts and bonanza farm.

Students will describe how the railroads helped open the West.

Students will analyze how governmental policies encouraged settlement of the West.

Students will summarize Frederick Jackson Turner's view of the American frontier

Students will summarize how new inventions changed farming in the West.

Students will describe how women were central to the homesteading process.

Students will explain how railroads took advantage of farmers.


1) Complete Section 3 Assessment on page 400.

2) Read pages 401 - 405 in course textbook.

3) Continue working on your course project. You will present your project in the next session. 

Session 4: Farmers and the Populist Movement


Students will review their homework and present their projects.

Students will identify Oliver Kelley, Grange, Populism, bimetallism, William McKinley, William Jennings Bryan and "Cross of Gold" speech.

Students will explain why farmers thought that an increased money supply would help solve their economic problems.

Students will describe some of the causes of farmer's economic problems.

Students will examine the Colored Farmer's National Alliance.

Students will contrast and Boom and Bust economies.

Students will summarize how the Grange and the Farmers' Alliance paved the way fore the Populist Party .

Students will explain what caused the Panic of 1893.

Students will examine the life of William Jennings Bryan.

Students will contrast Gold Bugs and Silverites. 

Students will analyze why the metal that backed paper currency was such an important issue in the 1896 presidential campaign.

Students will describe how the Populist movement collapsed.

bottom of page