A Web Quest for Chestnut Hill Academy 4th Grade

Introduction Scenario Task Process Roles  │ Resources Evaluation Credits

Introduction: The Oregon Trail was one of the main overland migration routes on the North American Continent, leading from locations on the Missouri River to the Oregon Territory.   To complete the journey in one traveling season most  travelers left in April to June--as soon as grass was growing enough to support their teams and the trails dried out. To meet the constant needs for water, grass and fuel for campfires the trail followed various rivers and streams across the continent. They traveled in wagons, pack trains, on horseback, on foot, by raft and by boat to establish new farms, lives and businesses in the Oregon Territory.  The five to six month journey spanned over half the continent as the wagon trail proceeded about 2,000 miles (3,200 km) west through territories and land later to become six U.S. states - Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, Wyoming, Idaho and Oregon. Between 1841 and 1869 the Oregon Trail was used by more than 100,000 settlers, ranchers, farmers, miners and business men migrating to the Pacific Northwest.

Scenario You and your fellow fourth grade students enjoyed playing The Oregon Trail so much, that Mrs. Morlidge decided  to build a time machine in the Tech Lab so that she could send everyone back in time to 1848 to experience life on the Oregon Trail for real. She decides to send an advanced party back first. You will be in a team with 3 other students, each member of the team will need to choose a particular role for the trip. The team will collect information and images from your experiences on the Oregon Trail that you will use to make a PowerPoint presentation. When you arrive back in Bellevue 2009 you will present your findings to your fellow students.

Task Your task is to pretend that you have been teleported back to Independence, Missouri and the year is 1848. Using the resources provided on this Web Quest and based on what you learnt playing The Oregon Trail, you will collect images and information  You will use this information to help your team make a PowerPoint presentation to present to the rest of the class. You and your team need to assign each member a role and you will collect information relevant to your particular role. If you only have 3 team members, combine the roles of Technical Director and Navigator.

Process: In your groups, read through the whole Web Quest. Assign team members. Separate out to individual computers and begin your research. Gather your information and images in a Word document. Don't forget you can cut and paste text and graphics where appropriate. Give credit for quotes and images. Copy and paste website addresses so that you can find them again easily. When you have answered all the questions relevant to you roles reconvene as a group and discuss how you will make your presentation As you will be making your slides individually, agree a theme - color, font, background. Go back to your computers and make your PowerPoint slides. Save them to your team's folder on the fourth grade drive.


Environmental Scientist

  • What is the landscape like as you travel on The Oregon Trail?
  • What obstacles does the land present in completing the Oregon Trail?
  • What plants do you see that you have not seen in back home in the east? Describe these plants. How do they change as you progress on The Oregon Trail?
  • What animals do you see that you have never encountered before? How would you describe them? Why are these animals only found in certain parts of the country?

Social Scientist

  • What type of people are the pioneers? Why are they traveling west?
  • You hear about many of the great explorers who paved the way for The Oregon Trail. Who are these great explorers and what contributions and discoveries did they make?
  • Along the way you might meet Native American Indians. Which tribe are they from? What are they like? What are their attitudes towards pioneers?

Technical Director

  • What hardships do you experience along The Oregon Trail?
  • What types of sicknesses threaten the pioneers in your group?
  • What challenges does camping pose to your group?
  • What did you bring with you? How did you decide? How will you ration supplies so that they last for the entire journey?


  • What map will you use in following the Oregon Trail?
  • What landmarks will you see along the way?
  • How long will it take to complete the Oregon Trail?
  • What kind of transportation you will use?



Students will be evaluated on their ability to:

  • pick out appropriate data from the websites presented according to their role while doing research
  • present relevant information in respect to their assigned role in the form of text, images, graphics, etc.
  • work efficiently with other group members in the assignment and completion of roles, making sure all students are working equally as a team
  • organize material gathered in to a PowerPoint slide(s) for their teams presentation
  • work as a team to present their PowerPoint presentation to the rest of the 4th Grade


  •  Structure of the roles came from Mandy Ann Wheeler

  •  Images used on this web page are from istockphoto.com

  • The Oregon Trail Version 5 is available from Amazon

Sarah Morlidge