Trail Geography

 Task:

To appreciate the length and difficulty of the journey from the Mississippi 
River to Willmette Valley you need to know what landforms were along the 
Oregon Trail.  Men, women, and children walked half-way across our 
continent.  What landforms did they see?  What landforms did they have to 
forge or go around?  Which were dangerous and difficult?  Let's find out.

  Process:

Step 1
You will need to use your Social Studies textbook glossary or 
a dictionary to write the following geographic definitions:

mountain        mountain range        hill        valley        river
mesa            plateau               plains      desert        butte
Continental Divide

Step 2
You must interpret the data and write statements explaining which 
landforms would have been easy for an oxen driven covered wagon weighing one 
ton.  

Step 3
Create a relief map using play dough after viewing an atlas or United States 
physical map.  Your map should contain a scale to indicate milage, a compass 
rose, color coded legend, and labels of the following identify landforms:
(stick toothpicks into the clay landforms and tape on post-its or paper 
labels)
Rocky Mountains        Great Plains           Cascade Mountains       
Snake River            Columbia River         Platte River
Great Divide Basin     Atlantic Ocean         Pacific Ocean
Gulf of Mexico         Mississippi River      The Great Lakes
Appalachain Mountains  Gulf Coastal Plains    Atlantic Coastal Plains 

Use colored play dough or paint the clay when creating the relief map.
Mountain Ranges should be red.
The Great Plains need to be yellow.
Coastal Plains should be green.
Oceans should be blue.
Trace the path of the rivers by scratching a toothpick into the play dough.
Glue string or thread on the map to represent the Oregon Trail.

Cut and paste this web site to find the route of the Oregon Trail:
http://www.isu.edu/~trinmich/sites.html                 

Evaluation:Score 5 points if all elements are present
Colors correspond correctly with the landform    1 2 3 4 5 
Relief map has compass rose, scale and legend    1 2 3 4 5
All physical features have labels                1 2 3 4 5
Rocky Mountains are the highest part of the map  1 2 3 4 5 
Coastal plains are the lowest part of the map    1 2 3 4 5
Pacific,Atlantic Oceans, Great Lakes are labeled 1 2 3 4 5
The map contains the Mississippi River and it's tributaries  1 2 3 4 5 
Student glued thread representing the Oregon Trail           1 2 3 4 5