Lesson Plan

The Impact of Westward Expansion

How did westward expansion impact people living in the United States? Use this history lesson to give students an overview of the people and events involved. Then help them reflect on multiple perspectives in an informational paragraph.
View aligned standards

Learning Objectives

Students will be able to write an informational paragraph about westward expansion using a timeline and informational text as resources.


(5 minutes)
Historical Perspectives: Westward ExpansionMap the States: State AbbreviationsSun NotetakingU.S. Expansion: Color by HistoryHistorical Heroes: Lewis and Clark
  • Show students a blank map of the United States and explain that our country did not always look the way it does today.
  • Explain that prior to the 1800s, the United States extended between the Atlantic Ocean and the Mississippi River. The country consisted of 16 states, including the original 13 colonies, and various territories that would later become states.
  • Draw a blue line to show where the Mississippi River is and shade in the portion of the map to the right of it in green (do not shade Florida; see related media for a map showing the region to shade). Label the shaded area "United States before the 1800s."
  • Tell students that today we are going to learn about some of the events and people that were involved in expanding the United States westward, helping to make the country what it is today.