Course Outline


Dear Teacher, 

The following are objectives to be accomplished by reading this book. There are lesson plans per chapter, which have been written at a fourth grade level. Depending upon your student’s level, these can be extrapolated to any age. They show the material and expectations covered by the book. This book was written to appeal to various ages from the 3rd grade up. Although some stories, like the Reed Christmas or the incident when Eddie breaks his leg, can be read to first and second graders. If you have any questions about streamlining your curriculum to an age, let me know and I can work with you. 

Holly Bennett 

Book Outline

Set 1

 List the reasons that compelled the pioneers to pack up their homes and head into unknown territories. 

Identify three major characters in the Donner Party and why you think they are important. 

Discuss why California was a territory and not a state. What happened to make it become a state and in what year. 

Set 2

 Explain why the Mexican/American war was important. When was it? 

Identify the President at that time. What were his main objectives? 

Define Manifest Destiny. 

Describe the difference between a territory and a state? When did California become a state? Were there any other territories at that time? 

Set 3

Contrast how the pioneers “live off the land” at the beginning of the trip and at the end. 

List the types of food found on the trail. Was cooking easy? Were you surprised at the amount of food they could eat? What on their menu might you have liked to eat? 

Describe the Indians the families met as they traveled. Were the pioneers afraid of the Indians? 

Set 4

State the importance of Fort Laramie. 

Contrast Fort Laramie and Fort Bridger and explain their importance. 

Explain Lansford Hasting’s Doctrine and the consequences for following it. 

Set 5

List the symptoms of Heat stroke, hypothermia, frost bite and starvation. 

Describe medical care on the trail. 

Contrast the differences between modern medicine and what was known then. 

Explain the difficulties in traveling by horse, wagon and walking. 

Set 6

Identify three delays that impaired the wagon train. 

State how the Donner party survived once they were snowed in. 

Identify John Sutter and Sutter’s fort. Explain his importance. 

Describe the different types of country and weather the Donner Party encountered.