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The Oregon Trail - The Journey Across the Country from Lewis and Clark to the Transcontinental Railroad Review by Amanda HopkinsKaren Bush Gibson
2456 Christian Street
White River Junction, Vermont 05001
I remember in elementary school when we got to play on the computers, my favorite game was The Oregon Trail. While that game is outdated, I had so much fun learning about that piece of history through the game. I want my kids to be able to learn about it in a fun way also, so finding Build It Yourself The Oregon Trail has been a great resource for us!
Within the pages of this colorful book, your child will find six chapters that bring them from the beginning to the end of the Oregon Trail. Along the way, they will find many opportunities to get their hands on the learning with fun activities. This was my children’s favorite part.
After looking over the map and the timeline at the beginning of the book, we jumped into the introduction. This was a great way to bring the kids into the time of the Oregon Trail. It was a little shorter than the chapters, but still contained all the same elements.
Each of these elements makes the learning easy to understand. As we read, we find bolded words throughout. These are the Words to Know and we find them and their meanings in a side box or two throughout the reading. There are fun little Did You Know sections that bring history facts into what we are reading about. The end of each chapter, we find an Essential Question. This question checks to see if your child has caught the main topic of the chapter.
After finishing the lesson, your child gets to get busy with hands on activities. These activities can range from checking out journal entries, and making your own, to looking up coordinates and see if you can find the location they are talking about or even learning how to purify water. These activities are a great way to bring the chapter to life for your child.
Adding in the technology that we have now, we found a fun magnifier glass that gave us a QR code to use on our smartphones or tablets to explore further. If you don’t use, or want your child to use either of these, there is also a list of URLs in the back of the book to go to for the same benefits.
The Oregon Trail is a major part in the westward expansion in the United States. While my kids may not enjoy the game that I enjoyed, they can still get involved in the fun of learning about The Oregon Trail through this book. With the easy to read text and the fun activities, my kids are walking away from this adventure learning the same amount as I did with the game I played in school, but in their own learning experience.
I used this with my first and third grade children. The readings and the language made it so that they both understood what was being talked about. Neither one of them was bored, or lost with the reading. They were both captive and enjoyed this book. We had a lot of fun making sure we knew our Words to Know as well as getting hands on with the learning at the end of each chapter!
If your children love to listen or read stories, but also love to get hands on, this is a great way to learn about The Oregon Trail. This is not a boring history book, but a fun history adventure!
—Product review by Amanda Hopkins, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, January, 2018