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Westward Ho!

from History San Jose

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During the mid-1800s, many American settlers moved West in covered wagons. History San José offers students the opportunity to travel as part of an American caravan from Independence, MO to Sacramento, CA. Students will visually analyze photographs and paintings to determine the environmental dynamics settlers faced across the terrain and inspect artifacts settlers carried over the course of their 1,700-mile journey West. By the end of the presentation, students will understand the motivating factors that led people to trek overland and recognize the challenges American settlers faced when traveling westward to California.

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About This Program


Point to Point: $100.00
Point to Point Premium: $95.00


40 minutes

Target Audience

Education: Grade(s) 3, 4, 5, 6, 8

Minimum participants:

1 student

Maximum participants:

35 students

Primary Disciplines

Social Studies/History

Program Delivery Mode

Videoconference – Webcam/desktop (Zoom, Google Meet, Cisco WebEx, GoToMeeting, Microsoft Teams, Blue Jeans, etc...)

Booking Information

Will be in Pacific Standard Time (PST).

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Provider's Cancellation Policy

Cancellation and Rescheduling:
Once confirmed, if you are unable to keep the date you reserved, please email us at as soon as possible to reschedule. Should you choose to cancel your school program, note that your deposit is non-refundable.

About This Provider

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History San Jose

San Jose, CA
United States

History San José’s (HSJ) activities began in 1949 following the centennial celebration of the California Gold Rush and statehood. Known initially as the Historical Museum of San José and managed by the City of San José, History San José was incorporated with its current name as an independent 501(c)3 nonprofit organization in 1998. Over the decades, History San José has grown to include three sites: History Park, the Peralta Adobe-Fallon House Historic Site, and the Collection Center/Research Library & Archives that houses the largest collection of regional artifacts in California. Over 120,000 visitors attend exhibits and events at these sites each year.

 HSJ is very proud of its standards-based school programs that have offered award-winning hands-on educational opportunities for more than 20 years. Students visit historical buildings and exhibits and participate in hands-on activities that meet the History-Social Science and Language Arts Content Standards for California Public Schools. These programs take place at both History Park and at the Peralta Adobe-Fallon House Historic Site. Over 25,000 students and teachers from more than 200 schools, take part in these educational programs each year. 

Education at History San Jose

Program Details


1. Introduction to the program
2. Information on what it took to begin the journey west.
3. Begin presentation of what will be viewed on the journey West, which includes primary sources and analytical skills.
4. Time is allowed for questions and answers.


Students will:
a. Gain an understanding of the motivating factors that led people to trek overland
and recognize the challenges American settlers faced when traveling westward
to California.
b. Inspect primary sources and engage in interactive activities that mimic real lived
experiences of the 1,700-mile journey West
c. Learn vocabulary terms related to the socio-political dynamics of westward

Standards Alignment

National Standards

Common Core Standards (3-5)
Reading Standards for Informational Text (3-5)
Draw on information from multiple print or digital sources, demonstrating the ability to locate an answer to a question quickly or to solve a problem efficiently.
Writing Standards (3-5)
Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, descriptive details, and clear event sequences

Speaking and Listening Standards (3-5)
Pose and respond to specific questions to clarify or follow up on information, and make comments that contribute to the discussion and link to the remarks of others.
Review the key ideas expressed and explain their own ideas and understanding in light of the discussion.
Include multimedia components (e.g., graphics, sound) and visual displays in presentations when appropriate to enhance the development of main ideas or themes

Common Core Standards (8)
Writing Standards (8)
Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, relevant descriptive details, and well-structured event sequences.
Use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing and present the relationships between information and ideas efficiently as well as to interact and collaborate with others.

Speaking and Listening Standards (8)
Pose questions that connect the ideas of several speakers and respond to others' questions and comments with relevant evidence, observations, and ideas.
Acknowledge new information expressed by others, and, when warranted, qualify or justify their own views in light of the evidence presented.
Integrate multimedia and visual displays into presentations to clarify information, strengthen claims and evidence, and add interest.

State Standards

California (3-5)
Historical and Social Sciences Analysis Skills (3-5)
Chronological and Spatial Thinking
4. Students use map and globe skills to determine the absolute locations of places and interpret
information available through a map’s or globe’s legend, scale, and symbolic representations.
5. Students judge the significance of the relative location of a place (e.g., proximity to a harbor,
on trade routes) and analyze how relative advantages or disadvantages can change over time.

Research, Evidence, and Point of View
2. Students pose relevant questions about events they encounter in historical documents,
eyewitness accounts, oral histories, letters, diaries, artifacts, photographs, maps, artworks, and
Historical Interpretation
1. Students summarize the key events of the era they are studying and explain the historical
contexts of those events.

Fourth Grade
4.4.3 Discuss immigration and migration to California between 1850 and 1900, including the
diverse composition of those who came; the countries of origin and their relative locations; and
conflicts and accords among the diverse groups (e.g., the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act).
4.4.4 Describe rapid American immigration, internal migration, settlement, and the growth of
towns and cities (e.g., Los Angeles).

Fifth Grade
5.8.4 Discuss the experiences of settlers on the overland trails to the West (e.g., location of the
routes; purpose of the journeys; the influence of the terrain, rivers, vegetation, and climate; life
in the territories at the of these trails).

Historical and Social Sciences Analysis Skills (6-8)
Chronological and Spatial Thinking
1. Students explain how major events are related to one another in time.
3. Students use a variety of maps and documents to identify physical and cultural features of
neighborhoods, cities, states, and countries and to explain the historical migration of people,
expansion and disintegration of empires, and the growth of economic systems.
Research Evidence, and Point
5. Students detect the different historical points of view on historical events and determine the
context in which the historical statements were made (the questions asked, sources used,
author's perspectives).
Historical Interpretation
1. Students explain the central issues and problems from the past, placing people and events in
a matrix of time and place.
2. Students understand and distinguish cause, effect, sequence, and correlation in historical
events, including the long-and short-term causal relations.

Eight Grade
8.5.2 Know the changing boundaries of the United States and describe the relationships the
country had with its neighbors (current Mexico and Canada) and Europe, including the influence
of the Monroe Doctrine, and how those relationships influenced westward expansion and the
Mexican-American War.
8.6.2 Outline the physical obstacles to and the economic and political factors involved in
building a network of roads, canals, and railroads (e.g., Henry Clay's American System).
8.8.2 Describe the purpose, challenges, and economic incentives associated with westward
expansion, including the concept of Manifest Destiny (e.g., the Lewis and Clark expedition,
accounts of the removal of Indians, the Cherokees’ “Trail of Tears,” settlement of the Great
Plains) and the territorial acquisitions that spanned numerous decades.