This Web Quest was intended for the purpose of enlightening students on the huge movement of the pioneers. This project gives students a better understanding of what it was like to travel as a pioneer of the 1800's. It allows students to participate in activities that enable them to make the same choices that the pioneers may have made on their trek from the east. They may come to understand the hardships and loss that many of these wagon trains faced as they traveled and left behind everything that was ever known to them. They will see actual documentation and diaries of the people who made this amazing journey. My hope is that students can relate their own trips and vacations and see what an amazing thing these settlers actually did. By plotting the settlers journey on the map, and comparing it to the modern day maps of our United States, students can compare the 17 month journey they took by wagon, or the 2 day trip that people now take by car.
My inspiration from this Web Quest came from my own experiences with reading books and watching movies about the Oregon Trail and pioneer days as a child. I grew up reading the Laura Ingalls Wilder books and re-read them over and over throughout my childhood. Reading those stories made me feel like I had a first hand experience in the "old west" and it drew me to find out as much information as I could about the wagon trains and the people of those times. My decision to go back to college as an adult landed my in a children's literature class here at Whitworth. We had to read several books, and most of my books that I chose were those of the wagon trains and pioneer days, the same things that interested me as a child. The one other thing that has always interested me in the pioneer days was the Oregon Trail video game. As a child, that was the only game that we were allowed to play at our elementary school. The game showed a different perspective of the life that all of the settlers faces on the prairie, and showed young children that many of the people that started on this journey never actually made it to Oregon. The game was amusing and fun at the time, but now looking back I realize that it was actually sad and I never really realized how hard those first settlers actually had it.
The outcome that I wished to achieve in this Web Quest was that I hoped that this amazing expansion of the west would intrigue others the way that it did me. Reading about the Oregon Trail and the wagon trains whether it was fiction or not led me to find out more information about the lives of these people and what led them to the Pacific Northwest. I hope that by experiencing some of the same things that the pioneers experienced along the trail in these activities children will gain interest in these significant events that happened in our nations history.