The Impact of Physical Features on Western Settlement
By Colleen Fitzgerald
Throughout our history, factors such as physical features, Native American settlements, economic opportunity, and political decisions have created new human settlement patterns. In this lesson students read diary entries and analyze works of art to develop generalizations about the influence of physical features on westward settlement patterns in the mid-1800s.
National Standards (National Center for History in the Classroom, 1996)
This lesson addresses Standard 1, Era 4 (United States Territorial Expansion between 1801 and 1861) Under Historical Thinking, it addresses Standard 2 (Historical Comprehension) as it relates to comprehending historical narratives and drawing upon visual material as sources of information for historical study.
Physical map of the United States
Printed Copies of Artwork (attached)
Copy of the Smithsonian American Art Museum painting Colorado by Boardman Robinson, 1946
Copy of the Wyoming State Historical Society painting Green River Crossing of the Overland Trail by Dave Paulley, 1986
Copies of diary entries found under Materials
gunwale - the upper edge of the side of a vessel
swamp - to fill (a ship or boat) with water to the point of sinking it
haul - to pull or drag forcibly
bluff - a steep headland, promontory, riverbank, or cliff