Time Traveling Adventures in the West

My 8th graders finished a project on their Expanding West unit. We studied the Lewis and Clark expedition, the Oregon Trail, the Texas Revolution, the Mexican-American War (including the Bear Flag Republic), and the Gold Rush. So, instead of taking a test, my students had to pretend they were time travelers from the year 2150 and write a travelogue diary  I told them to be creative for each of these spots. I wasn’t disappointed.

Some one wrote this next to their name as they turned in their paper:
– Chloe (i know you like me more than Tess)

Lewis and Clark Expedition
– It sounds and smells like a wilderness out here…well maybe because it is.
– I see dear and skunks and even more exotic than at home.
– The flowers smelt real and the wind blew. (really?)

Oregon Trail
– I used my disguise o’matic to get on some ragged clothes.
– They do not suspect that I am actually a robot. My steel fitted feet units are very sore.
– One thing that was exciting and scary was that an Indian scalped Jeffrey. (poor kid in my class!)
– One of the solo men that came was mauled by a bear and there was nothing left to bury.
– Its fun to see them use actual paper maps instead of the iphone 152
– One person died on the trail, his name was Justin, Justin Bieber.
– Then there is Phinaes and Ferb, who are hoping to get a apprenticeship with some printer there.

Texas Revolution
– The battle of Alamo, and San Jacinto, they were great battles, in the Alamo we were starving all the people were smelly and needed a shower.
– The dry sand was now mud, it was mixed with the blood of those who died. (I think this is a really amazing sentence!)
– Then battle of Alamo was awful. It looked so bad to be sitting outside on your porch and watch some of your neighbors fighting being killed and shot.

Mexican-American War
– I want Americans to win because it’s a big territory and it’s where Disneyland is…in the future. (That’s right! Go ‘Murica!)

Gold Rush
– The smell of bacon came out of no where. Then I realized there was a camp up a head. It was a sad day I really wanted bacon. (That kid is in torture. I loves me some bacon!)
– I’m thinking about staking a claim near this spot by the river, but there is this hobo that lives there that is really creeping me out.
– My wife was dead: there was a gang there wanting my gold. This was bad so I gave them most of it.
– I could smell the sweet scent of honey. I don’t know why it would ever smell like honey. It just did.
– The camp’s smell was horrible. Part man-smell, and the other part is really bad man-smell. (hahahaha)
– I’m bunked with a girl who has long blonde dread locks and smells like cheese. Every once in a while I spray her with perfume. My gold mining instructor is a cutie.

Tayler is a work at home mom. She does free lance articles and dabbles in graphic design and virtual assisting for bloggers. She spent 3 years as a history and English teacher. Her passions are her husband, two children, history, reading, nature, and her Savior, Jesus Christ.

  • What an awesome alternative to a test!
    The Justin Beiber comment had me cracking up!! BAHA!

  • That is so cute!! I seriously love kids perspective on things. I think this really causes the kids imagination to come alive and then they learn to love history. We lived in the St Louis area and took the kids to Saint Charles where Lewis and Clark set out. We live in Texas now and took them to the Alamo…our kids while still young love history. They have a passion for learning (wish I had that in school) and I think you are doing that same thing for your students. Wish I had you as a teacher!! 🙂


    • My students hate it though. I also have an English endorsement, so I could teach English if I was hired for it. Therefore, I have my history students do a LOT of writing. You're right with creativity helping them to learn better, but they just don't like the fact they have to write in a class that isn't English.