Guiding Question

How did the Transcontinental Railroad, California Gold Rush, Homestead Act, Texas Annexation, Mexican-American War, Trails West (Oregon, Mormon, California, Santa Fe), or Native American Displacement contribute to or was a result of westward expansion?

Big6+ Step 1: What do I need to do?

Students will choose a topic using the Topic Selection Sheet.

Students may choose from:

  • Transcontinental Railroad
  • Gold Rush (California)
  • Homestead Act
  • Texas Annexation
  • Mexican-American War
  • Trails West: Oregon, Mormon, California, Santa Fe
  • Native American Displacement
  • student choice pending teacher approval

Students will also be introduced to the requirements for the project.

Big6+ Steps 2 & 3: Where can I locate information and how can I access it?

Students will locate one primary source document and two secondary source documents (one will be the textbook) related to an event.

For each document student will record:
  • Description of the primary source
  • An explanation of the event
  • The impact of the event
  • Key people involved in the event

Possible Resources for finding Primary Source Documents:

Big6+ Step 4: How will I organize my information?

Event Information Chart - notes organizer


How will I cite my information?

Create Citations in NoodleTools


Using NoodleTools Handout

Big6+ Step 5: Synthesis. How can I organize my information? How can I present the results?

Big6+ Step 6: How will I know I did my job well? SELF-EVALUATION

  • Rubric for 8th Grade Social Studies