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Westward Ho!

Westward Ho!

Guided tour — Kansas Museum of History, Topeka

Grades — 4th

During the mid-1800s, thousands of families traveled through Kansas in covered wagons. Most were heading west in search of land, gold, or a more healthful climate in which to settle. This tour invites students to learn about the history of westward expansion, focusing on experiences from the Santa Fe and Oregon-California trails.  The tour visits the Trails portion of the gallery, where students see the full-size covered wagon, the prairie diorama, and exhibits about the items families used on the Oregon Trail and the goods transported on the Santa Fe Trail.  In the hands-on museum classroom, students see reproductions of items used and carried on the trails and try on clothes that would have been worn by 19th century travelers. 

Teachers may also be interested in two Read Kansas! lessons--I-6 "Trade and Travel on Overland Trails" and I-7 "Life on the Trails" to extend this guided tour. 

Standards addressed:

Kansas History, Government and Social Studies

Standard #1: Choices have consequences

  • 1.2: The student will analyze the context under which choices are made and draw conclusions about the motivations and goals of the decision-makers.

Kansas College and Career Ready Standards

  • SL 3.3: The student will ask and answer questions about information from a speaker, offering appropriate elaboration and detail.
  • SL 4.3: The student will identify the reasons and evidence a speaker provides to support particular points.
  • W 4.3 (a-e): The student will write a narrative to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, descriptive details, and clear event sequences.

See admission fees.

Length of tour: approximately one hour.

Number of students in a group: for the best experience, we recommend no more than 20 students per tour. For large groups, a maximum of 40 students can be accommodated on the tour during any given hour.