TO THE HISTORY OF THE OLD NATIONAL ROAD
The National Road (also known as the Cumberland Road,
Cumberland Pike, National Pike and Western Pike) was created by an Act
of Congress in 1803 and signed by President Thomas Jefferson. The road
is commonly known to start around Baltimore, Maryland, but also some
think Cumberland, Maryland. The National Road has a special interest in
states from Maryland to Illinois.
Here are some activities to do in conjunction with the On-Line project:
Students are to complete
National Trail Notepad pages
while finding information. Remind them to document the webpage title
and URL at the bottom of the pages.
1. Create and travel on a simulated "Old Trail"
· Design and make milestone markers and put together an "Old
Trail" on the school grounds. Such things as furniture dropped off,
bones of a cow, messages left on rocks or a piece of wood, and perhaps a
tombstone (wooden cross of a deceased traveler) along the trail.
· "Camp out" along the trail while traveling to: eat, drink
(water, juice), sing some folk songs, talk and visit, gather sticks for
the fire (simulated), and maybe even play some pioneer games (kids)
· Use a GPS device to create a map of the grounds with points
marked with milestone markers. Travelers will have to use the GPS
device to find each marker. Draw a map based upon their journey on the
· Take on the role of a pioneer and a Native American to be met
along the trail. Trade items that each would like or need-- a peaceful
· Add other items as you and your students discover during the
initial reading and research
2. Reading and Writing:
· Have students write a Pioneer "journal" in which a month's
worth of days would recorded. The entries will include daily activities
of the trip, special events, personal notes. The journal could be
illustrated. (all can be done by computer word processor and a scanner.
· Read a biography about a famous pioneer who travelled out
west. The library usually has plenty of these on the shelves. An
encyclopedia or an Internet biography could work also. After reading
the book, the student could report back about the person they read about
to the class in the form of a short dramatic "dress-up" presentation,
such as a Power Point presentation , or even a colorful art work
(poster, picture or chart).
· Have students write a narrative story concerning an aspect of
being a pioneer on the trail to out west. Any specific sub-topic that
interests the student would be appropriate. Set your own standards as
for writing quality and quantity.
· Have students create illustrated maps of their favorite "Old
West Trail." Viewing actual old maps on the Internet or from books
would give them an idea of what a 19th century map looks like.
· Teachers in the school could have a Pioneer Life day at the
school. Food, games, speeches, presenters, and displays would make a
very exciting day. Be sure to capture the event with digital and video
images for presentation later.
As you can see, there are a myriad of really great things to
do to teach about Pioneer Life. I didn't mention Learning Standards.
It seems that reading, writing, math, social studies (history and
geography), as well as weather, biology, and other standards could be
addressed with a project.