Virtual field trips have become a popular way for educators to provide students with engaging and interactive learning experiences, especially in times when in-person trips are not possible. If you are studying the Industrial Revolution or looking at ways that transportation has changed over time, taking your students on a Transcontinental Railroad Virtual Field Trip is a great way to bring learning to life.
The Transcontinental Railroad was a remarkable engineering feat that connected the eastern and western coasts of the United States. It was completed in 1869 and significantly impacted the nation's economy, transportation, and settlement patterns. The virtual field trip activity takes students on a journey through the history of this iconic railroad and its construction.
This ready-to-go activity takes students to various placemarks that lead students through the history of the Transcontinental Railroad. The placemarks are labeled and provide information about important landmarks, events, and people associated with the railroad's construction.
Students can start their journey at Omaha, Nebraska, and follow the path of the Union Pacific Railroad, which was responsible for building the railroad from the east. Along the way, students can explore notable landmarks such as the Golden Spike National Historic Site in Promontory, Utah, where the final spike was driven to complete the railroad. The virtual field trip also covers the Central Pacific Railroad's construction from Sacramento, California, to Promontory, Utah, which was responsible for building the railroad from the west.
As students explore the virtual field trip, they can gain a deeper understanding of the challenges faced by the railroad builders, such as the harsh terrain and the need to build tunnels and bridges. They can also learn about the impact of the Transcontinental Railroad on the nation's economy and settlement patterns, including the growth of cities and the expansion of the cattle industry.
The virtual field trip includes interactive Google Earth links which allow for 360-degree views of the railroad today as well as views of replica trains along the track.
As students move through the activity, response questions are included. You can use the response questions as an easy assessment tool to evaluate students' understanding of the material covered in the virtual field trip. The response questions are editable so that you can tailor the focus to your classroom needs. A grading rubric is also included in the teacher file.
This activity is low prep to save you prep time and can be easily implemented if you need an extension activity, partner work, or even sub plans. The Transcontinental Railroad Virtual Field Trip provides students with a unique opportunity to explore important landmarks and learn about the challenges faced by the railroad builders. The interactive activities also help reinforce students' learning and provide a fun and engaging way to assess their understanding of the material.