This lesson worked really well with lower attaining Y10 students who had already studied the Plains Indians and the contact between the early mountain men at the trading posts. This was their first lesson on movement West. They had never used artefacts before in their GCSE course so it was a bit of a novelty. Some of the resources used have been adapted from those kindly supplied by Sarah Herrity Wyvern Technology College.

Learning objectives

  • students know that there were a number of groups who went west and can sequence the order in which they went;
  • they consider motives for the first settlers, thinking in terms of push and pull factors.


Students enter to find that the tables are differently arranged and on each table is an artefact

Gold, (small piece of gold-sprayed coal)
Garden fork (handfork!)
Old Oregon map; faked to look old
Cowboy hat
Book of Mormon (false cover bearing words Book of Mormon wrapped around old book)
Lump of Sod
Land sale poster photocopied from a book
Law badge and wanted poster

The students then move from table to table briefly noting who they think the 8 groups were. Ask them what they think each object represents

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