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        Idaho | Activity 5.1: Settlers Arrive in Idaho Territory

        Unit 5: Westward Expansion

        This Unit will introduce students to the period of Westward Expansion, when people lived much differently than they do today. In spite of these differences, pioneer families struggled with how to obtain food and shelter, how to define the roles of each family member, and how to balance risk and opportunity—much like families in modern day Idaho.

        Lesson Summary

        Students learn from the Westward Expansion interactive timeline and maps how the Idaho territory changed since 1860 today, including the changes to American Indian tribal lands and tribes.

        Standards: 4.SS.1.3.1 Identify American Indian tribes in Idaho: Coeur d’Alene, Kootenai, Shoshone-Bannock, Nez Perce, and Shoshone-Paiute Tribes and current reservation boundaries. 

        413.07 Use geographic skills to collect, analyze, interpret, and communicate data.

        413.40 Describe examples of technological innovations in relation to economic growth in Idaho. 

        Time Allotment

        20-30 minutes



        1. With each student at a computer, have your students work with the Westward Expansion, 1790-1850 interactive timeline, which covers the period 1860–1890.

        2. To use the interactive timeline, launch the interactive map from the link. Select “States and Territories.” The timeline should have 1860 selected by default. To move through the timeline, click on the red circles above each of the other dates (1860, 1870, and such). Layers and data can be turned on and off by clicking on the squares and circles in the right-hand frame.

        3. Allow students 10 minutes to explore the various features, dates, and base maps. Encourage your students to explore the expansion of features such as the network of railroads over time.

        4. Hand out the Contemporary American Indian Reservations map as a reference for students to see how the tribal lands have changed since the 1800s and how many American Indian tribes exist today in Idaho.

        5. Have your students answer the following questions:

          1. What happens to the Idaho territory between 1860 and 1890?

          2. What native tribes were in Idaho territory in 1860?

          3. By 1890, what major technological innovation had made its way into Idaho, bringing a new breed of settlers and new methods of trading goods?

          4. Between what two decades was the transcontinental railroad completed?

          5. What tribes are in Idaho today?

        Answer Key

        1. Idaho goes from being a territory to becoming a state

        2. Flathead, Bannock, Nez Perce, and Coeur d’Alene

        3. the railroad

        4. between 1860 and 1870

        5. Kootenai, Coeur d’Alene, Nez Perce, Shoshone-Bannock, Shoshone-Paiute


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