School Resources

Lesson Plans, Presentations & Video


These resources listed here are suitable for learners of all ages, but some are specifically designed for elementary and middle school students.

In Pursuit of a Dream

This multiple award-winning film shows modern teenagers learning firsthand what it was like to be an emigrant traveling West on a wagon train.

What would it be like to go back in time (with no cell phones, IM’ing, Twitter and Facebook or running water for that matter) and travel across the country just like the pioneers did. That’s what 24 kids from across the US, (some who had never been out of their home town EVER), did for their summer vacation. Led by three amazing teachers these new age “emigrants” trekked through Wyoming and north to Oregon on a once-in-a-lifetime journey that challenged even the toughest in the group.

They traded their modern conveniences for long dresses and overalls, loaded their wagons and took off for adventure on the Oregon and California Trails. Along the way they met gold seekers, scoundrels and natives. And while they learned about what made us a great nation as we moved west, they also learned about themselves and how the decisions they made could have serious and unexpected consequences for their group. Some made it, others did not. Join these kids in this 83 minute-long drama as they are challenged to find the right direction, “In Pursuit of a Dream”.


Activity Books

America's westward march has been captured in OCTA's four educational Activity Books. They are appropriate for use at the middle and high school level, and parts may be adapted for use in lower levels.

Lesson Plans & Units


Presentations

PowerPoint overview presentations designed for elementary students.