Westward Expansion - Interactive Map

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Image Analysis #1

"Across the Continent: Westward the Course of Empire Takes Its Way", Currier & Ives, 1868

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Click on the image to access the modeled lesson.

Image Source: Library of Congress

Source & Citation:

Image Title: “Across the Continent: Westward the Course of Empire Takes Its Way.”Creator(s): Currier & Ives: F. (Fanny) Palmer
Date: 1868
Part Of: “Prints and Photographs Reading Room: Prints and Photographs Division”Library of Congress.Online Resource URL: http://www.loc.gov/pictures/resource/ppmsca.03213/ARC Identifier: 03213

HandoutsGraphic Organizer -
Rubric -

Essential Question: How can we learn about society by examining images from the past?

Topic Questions:

  1. What can we learn about the attitudes of the painter towards the opening of the West in the 1860's?
  2. How does the artist use diagonal lines in this painting? How does this add to our understanding of attitudes toward Native Americans?
  3. What subtle hints can we find in the painting that indicate emotion? How does this image affect you emotionally?
  4. How does the energy of Quad 3 contrast with the image in Quad 2?
  5. How does the artist use the smoke from the train to illustrate the reaction of the Native Americans?

Assignment: Students examine the painting "Across the Continent" from Currier & Ives by Fanny .

Task #1 (45 min period)
  1. Using the iPad, students go to the lesson page on the wikispace.
  2. They examine the image in quadrants, by pinching and squeezing to enhance fine details.
  3. They complete a graphic organizer called "I See (fine details), I Think (the artist's meaning) and I Share (group discussion)
  4. After working independently, the class comes together to discuss the painting, as a whole and in quadrants.
  5. Students complete a personal reflection on their observations in their journals.

Task #2 (45 min period)
  1. Returning to their work, they reread their notes in the graphic organizer and reflections in their journals.
  2. Using the iPad, students take a screenshot of the image from the wikispace page, then edit, crop & enhance it, using the iPad camera functions.
  3. They import the image as a new lesson in the app, Educreations, placing one quadrant on an individual page.
  4. Working from their graphic organizer and their written reflection, students record their thoughts into the Educreations lesson.
  5. Students answer the topic questions.

Task #3 (45 min period)
  1. Students listen to their work on the wikispace.
  2. Students complete a rubric of their work, using criteria discussed at the beginning of the lessons.
  3. Students listen to their peers' work on the wikispace, taking notes on items they want to use next time.
  4. Students write a final reflection in their journals.


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Cheyenne Uprising
The Cheyenne had agreed by the terms of the Fort Wise Treaty 1861 to move onto the Sand Creek Reservation. However, the land was very poor and survival for the Indians was virtually impossible. In 1863, faced with starvation, they began to attack wagon trains and steal food.
29th November 1864
Sand Creek Massacre
An armed force, led by Colonel Chivington, attacked Black Kettle's Cheyenne camp at Sand Creek. The motive for the attack was punishment for the raids on wagon trains. 163 Indians, including women and children, were killed and mutilated.
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Fort Laramie Treaty
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Completion of the Railway
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Wild Bill Hickok
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March 1873
Timber CultureAct
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Barbed wire invented
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Battle of the Little Bighorn
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Desert Land Act
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