ALEX Lesson Plan


Budgeting for the Oregon Trail

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  This lesson provided by:  
Author:Debbe Brooks
System: Madison County
School: Lynn Fanning Elementary School
  General Lesson Information  
Lesson Plan ID: 6359


Budgeting for the Oregon Trail


As a part of the online collaborative unit, Westward Ho!, students will work in cooperative groups of 4-5 students to decide what items they need to take on the Oregon Trail, determine the cost of the items, and complete a ledger to inventory (keep up with) items used on the trail. Information will then be used as part of a multimedia slideshow journal describing the journey.

 Associated Standards and Objectives 
Content Standard(s):
MA2015 (3)
1. Interpret products of whole numbers, e.g., interpret 5 x 7 as the total number of objects in 5 groups of 7 objects each. [3-OA1]
Example: Describe a context in which a total number of objects can be expressed as 5 x 7.
MA2015 (3)
3. Use multiplication and division within 100 to solve word problems in situations involving equal groups, arrays, and measurement quantities, e.g., by using drawings and equations with a symbol for the unknown number to represent the problem. (See Appendix A, Table 2.) [3-OA3]
MA2015 (4)
2. Multiply or divide to solve word problems involving multiplicative comparison, e.g., by using drawings and equations with a symbol for the unknown number to represent the problem, distinguishing multiplicative comparison from additive comparison. (See Appendix A, Table 2.) [4-OA2]

Local/National Standards:


Primary Learning Objective(s):

Students will create a budget for the Oregon Trail according to their needs and financial status. Students will explain why establishing a budget for obtaining essential supplies and keeping an inventory was important for pioneers on the Oregon Trail.

Additional Learning Objective(s):

 Preparation Information 

Total Duration:

91 to 120 Minutes

Materials and Resources:

list of supplies needed by pioneers traveling on the Oregon Trail in the early 1850's, cost of supplies during that time period, supply template, ledger template, the book Daily Life in a Covered Wagon

Technology Resources Needed:

Computers with Internet access, presentation software, such as PowerPoint, Hyperstudio, or KidPix Deluxe, calculators


Provide students with background information about the people, places, hardships, etc. they will encounter on the Oregon Trail using the book, Daily Life in a Covered Wagon, and various websites. Assign students to pioneer family groups and guide them in deciding the make-up of their family and/or traveling companions. They should decide the family name, current occupation/financial status, and why they are traveling to Oregon.

1.)Guide the family groups in setting their budgets and selecting supplies. Assign a specified starting amount to each wagon. They need a minimum of $600 per person. Remember that some wagon members will have more if they are doctors, lawyers, or other professionals. Farm families will have the minimum, unless they take on an extra person who may be richer as an adopted member of their family.

2.)Provide a mini-lesson in multiplying 2-3 digit whole numbers by 4 or 5 (depending on the number in their family wagon), if students have not already had practice with this skill.

3.)Use the price list at the URL below to decide which items to choose for the trip. Multiply the prices of the items chosen by the number of adults and children in wagon family to get subtotals. *Children between the ages of 4-10 count as half.
(End of the Oregon Trail)
This web site is rich with information about the Oregon Trail, including a price list of supplies.

5.)Use calculators to get totals for supplies and make any adjustments needed to fit your family budget.

6.)Use the attached budget ledger or create one of your own to keep up with supplies/animals used, lost, or traded on the trip. Information from the completed budget and ledger will be used as a part of a slideshow presentation describing the journey that students will work collaboratively to prepare to share their experience of the Oregon Trail.

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Assessment Strategies

The teacher will check the supply lists/budget sheet/ledger for accuracy and completeness. A rubric can be used to assess group cooperation. A prepared or teacher-made quiz on multiplication of 2 and 3 digit by 1 digit problems can be used to assess math concepts. A checklist can be used to assess inclusion of appropriate information in the final slideshow presenttion.





Each area below is a direct link to general teaching strategies/classroom accommodations for students with identified learning and/or behavior problems such as: reading or math performance below grade level; test or classroom assignments/quizzes at a failing level; failure to complete assignments independently; difficulty with short-term memory, abstract concepts, staying on task, or following directions; poor peer interaction or temper tantrums, and other learning or behavior problems.

Presentation of Material Environment
Time Demands Materials
Attention Using Groups and Peers
Assisting the Reluctant Starter Dealing with Inappropriate Behavior
Be sure to check the student's IEP for specific accommodations.