THE TRANSCONTINENTAL RAILROAD

8th Grade U.S. History

Topic:

How did the development of the Transcontinental Railroad impact the United States?

 

Learning Goals:

The students will gain knowledge of

·         how the growth of the country was impacted by the railroad.

·        the impact of connecting the railroad from east to west changed the country.

·         the various cultural groups who participated in the building of the railroad.

·         the hardships and discrimination faced by the different cultures.

·         the effects of the building of the railroad on the nation’s economy.

·      how the government was affected by the growth of the railroad.

·         the Pacific Railway Act and how it encouraged the planning and growth of the railroad.


 

Aligned with National and State Standards

Social Studies Standards

Economics Standards

Geography Standards

United States History Standards

Iowa History Standards

Iowa Teaching Standards

National Educational Technology Standards

Information Literacy Standards


KEY WORDS: (Vocabulary words students will use in constructing narratives for pre and post assessments and as a focus for research)

Manifest Destiny Sierra Nevada Mountains Oregon Trail
Promontory Point Utah Golden Spike
Union Pacific Railroad Central Pacific Railroad Pacific Railway Act
Immigrant Native Americans Plains Indians
Chinese African Americans Discrimination
Thomas Durant George Stephenson Samuel Morse
Grenville Dodge Alfred Nobel Theodore Judah
Daniel Strong Edward Harriman Abraham Lincoln
John Sutter Jesse James Asa Whitney
Coal  Crédit Mobilier Gold Rush
Nitroglycerine Black powder Buffalo
Yellow fever Grade Trestle
Spur line Surveyor Avalanche
Roadbed Telegraph Jupiter
Big Four Topographical engineer Railroad pirates
Rock Island Bridge monkey Tom Thumb

                                              


 

Primary Sources (very important for students to cite sources and to realize the difference between a primary source and other resources)

The sunset land; or, The great Pacific slope. By Rev. John Todd, D.D - First Person Narrative

Uncle Sam’s Belt - Today in History May 10, 1869.  Maps, First Person Narratives

Chinese American Contributions to the Transcontinental Railroad

Primary Documents in American History - the Pacific Railway Act

Central Pacific Railroad Photographic History Museum

Maps - American Memory from the Library of Congress website - click on maps


Print Resources

        Compton’s Encyclopedia

        New Book of Knowledge

      World Book Encyclopedia

        Barter, James, A Worker on the Transcontinental Railroad, Lucent Books/Thomson/Gale, 2003.

        Blashfield, Jean, The Transcontinental Railroad, Compass Point Books, 2002.

        Crewe, Sabrina, The Transcontinental Railroad, Gareth Stevens Publisher, 2004.

        Magram, Hannah Strauss, Railroads of the West, Mason Crest Publishers, 2003.

        Rach, Julie, The Transcontinental Railroad, Mason Crest Publishers, 2003.

        Shane, C.J., The Chinese, Greenhaven Press: Thomson/Gale, 2005.

        Stein, R. Conrad, The Transcontinental Railroad in American History, Enslow Publishers, 1997.

        Williams, John Hoyt, A Great and Shining Road, Crown Publishing, 1988.


   

Individual Lessons: Day 1; Days 2, 3, 4; Day 5; Day 6

Day 1:

Title:  Introduction to the Transcontinental Railroad

Objectives: Students will be introduced to the building of the Transcontinental Railroad.

Materials: Video Clip, Website with maps, Computer, LCD projector, pencil and paper

Procedure:

    Pretest Narrative sheet using 15 keywords:

Immigrant Promontory, Utah P acific Railway Act
Union Pacific Railroad Chinese Abraham Lincoln
Central Pacific Railroad  Golden Spike Gold Rush / Gold
Manifest Destiny Theodore Judah Oregon Trail
Native Americans Big Four Discrimination

       

   Show video clip to introduce the railroad.                        

   Introductory Video clip 2:00 min.

   Show and Discuss Maps

   Discussion of the railroad

    Assessment: Evaluate Student Narratives; Discussion Participation


Days 2, 3, 4   Individual Lessons

Title:  Background Search

Objectives:  Investigate the background of the building of the Transcontinental Railroad

                      Interpret, analyze, and organize information from a variety of websites

                      Understand the impact of the Continental Railroad on the U.S.

Materials:   

        Video at beginning of class: Transformation of the West   1:31 min       

        Computer lab

        Websites - Primary Sources listed above plus many other websites including:

            Learning Through History Archives

            American Experience - PBS

               Virtual Museum, City of San Francisco

               American West History Museum

          20 Questions

Procedure:    

View Video Clip. 

Students will be in groups of two. Each group will explore the various websites, read and discuss information, and answer the 20 questions using either Microsoft Word or pencil/pen paper.  Students will be responsible to turn in their own answers.

1.    What is the origin of the transcontinental railroad?

2.    What role do you believe that Manifest Destiny played in the building of the Transcontinental railroad?

3.    Why did Abraham Lincoln sign the Pacific Railway Bill? How much did it cost?

4.    Who were the Big Four?   How did they receive that name?

5.    Which of the Big Four became president of the Central Pacific railroad?

6.    Why  was Theodore Judah called " Crazy Judah"?

7.    What motivated the Central Pacific to hire the Chinese?

8.    Give 2 examples of how the Chinese workers were discriminated against.

9.    List 3 ways the Chinese workers differed from the Irish workers.

10.    What are some of the dangers the workers encountered when carving out the tunnels in the Sierra Nevada Mountains?

11.    Which railroad had the easier task of laying track on the "Race to Utah"?

12.    List at least 3 nicknames given to railroad workers and why they were given those names.

13.    Explain the Crédit Mobilier scandal.

14.    How did the building of the transcontinental railroad disrupt the Native Americans?

15.    How long did it take to build the transcontinental railroad and how much did it cost to build?

16.    The two railroad companies met in what state?

17.    What do you believe thy used a golden spike to connect the two railroads?

18.    What are 3 ways in which the railroad impacted the Old West?

19.    What was the impact on our economy after the Transcontinental railroad was built?

20.    Why did the Transcontinental railroad put the Oregon Trail out of business?

Assessment:   

Completion and discussion of questions.  Rubric

Day 3: Continue with questions and research

    Video at beginning of class: Native Americans and the Railroad 1:29 min


Day 5:   Individual Lessons

Title:  Identification of People, Events, and Documents.

Objectives: Students will identify and explain contributions and/or effects of pictures of people, events, and documents involved in the building of the Transcontinental Railroad.

        Key to Picture Page

1.        Mark Hopkins – started a minor supply store in a tent; built it into a multi-million dollar business.  Became Treasurer of the Central Pacific Railroad.  One of the Big Four

2.        Leland Stanford – Elected Governor of California in 1861.  Became President of the Central Pacific Railroad.  One of the Big Four.

3.        Collis Huntington – Partner of Mark Hopkins.  Vice President of Central Pacific Railroad.  Spent construction years in Washington, D.C., lobbying for government funds.  One of the Big Four.

4.        Charles Crocker – Construction Boss.  Responsible for men who built the railroad.  Tough, rugged man who earned worker respect.  One of the Big Four.

5.        Chinese Workers – Crocker first suggested Chinese workers.  Railroad builder James Strobridge argued that Chinese were too frail.  In 1865, Crocker hired the first Chinese workers.  Were the best workers in the world.  Chinese were discriminated against, but turned out to be major contributors to the railroad.

6.        Buffalo – Picture depicts railroad workers killing buffalo to clear the path for the railroad tracks and provide food for workers.  This greatly impacted the lives of the Native Americans by taking away their major food supply.

7.        Pounding of the Golden Spike – May 10, 1869.  The final spike was driven in at Promontory, Utah, and was ceremoniously made of gold to commemorate the occasion.  The dignitaries were unable to pound it in, so it had to be finished by the workers.

8.        Pacific Railway Act – July 1, 1862. President Lincoln signed the Pacific Railway Act, which set the route for the Transcontinental Railroad, authorizing two companies to build tracks.

9.        Theodore Judah – Engineer.  Built the first railroad in California.  His dream was to build a railroad across the country.  Along with the Big Four, they founded the Central Pacific Railroad in 1861.

10.     Lincoln – Signed the Railway Act to start building the Transcontinental Railroad.

 

Materials: Computer lab/Media Center; word processor or paper and pencil/pen  

Assessment: Students ability to explain and identify the photographs.  Rubric


ASSESSMENT PLAN: (Linked to learning goals and aligned with lesson plans)

 

Rubric for Questions and Pictures

 

Transcontinental Railroad


Teacher Name:


Student Name:     ________________________________________

CATEGORY

3

2

1

0

Amount of Information

All questions and pictures were answered/described with at least 2 sentences.

Most questions and pictures were answered/described with at least 2 sentences.

Some questions and pictures were answered/described with at least 1 sentence.

Half of the questions and pictures were not addressed.

Quality of Information

Information clearly answer/describes all questions or pictures.

Information clearly answer/describes most questions or pictures.

Information clearly answer/describes some questions or pictures.

Half of the questions and pictures were not addressed.

Internet Use

Successfully uses suggested internet links to find information and navigates within these sites easily without assistance.

Usually able to use suggested internet links to find information and navigates within these sites easily without assistance.

Occasionally able to use suggested internet links to find information and navigates within these sites easily without assistance.

Needs assistance or supervision to use suggested internet links and/or to navigate within these sites.

Group Work

Almost always listens to, shares with, and supports the efforts of the group.

Usually always listens to, shares with, and supports the efforts of the group.

Often listens to, shares with, and supports the efforts of the group but sometimes not a good team member.

Rarely listens to, shares with, or supports the efforts of the group and often not a good team member.

http://rubistar.4teachers.org


Day 6:

Title: Assessment and Discussion

Objectives:  Students will complete the Posttest Narrative.

Materials: Posttest Narrative sheet using 15 keywords:
Immigrant Promontory, Utah Pacific Railway Act
Union Pacific Railroad Chinese Abraham Lincoln
Central Pacific Railroad  Golden Spike Gold Rush / Gold
Manifest Destiny Theodore Judah Oregon Trail
Native Americans Big Four Discrimination


ASSESSMENT PLAN: (Linked to learning goals and aligned with lesson plans)

Historical Narrative

Analytic Rubric

NAME OF UNIT: Transcontinental Railroad

NAMES OF

STUDENTS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

UNIT NARRATIVE CLUE WORDS OR CONCEPTS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1. Immigrant

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. Union Pacific Railroad

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. Promontory, Utah

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4. Chinese

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5. Central Pacific Railroad

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6. Pacific Railway Act

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7. Manifest Destiny

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

8. Golden Spike

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

9.  Abraham Lincoln

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

10.  Big Four

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

11. Discrimination

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

12. Gold Rush/Gold

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

13. Oregon Trail

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

14. Native Americans

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

15. Theodore Judah

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CRITERIA:

0-Not included or used incorrectly

1-Included but without elaboration

2-Used with some elaboration

3-Used with extensive elaboration

 


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