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Take your students on a virtual field trip and make 13 stops along the Oregon Trail. Using a combination of Google Earth™ 360-degree views, video, informational text, and visuals, your students will view geographic locations and reconstructed sites along the trail as they learn about the history and significance of the Oregon Trail from multiple perspectives.


This virtual field trip covers:

:: Native lands recognition

:: What was the Oregon Trail?

:: Why move west?

:: Routes traveled

:: Disruption of Indigenous peoples

:: African Americans on the trail (Biddy Mason)

:: Independence, Missouri

:: Covered wagons & oxen vs. horses

:: Preparations

:: Departure times

:: Actual vs. perceived dangers

:: Fort Kearny

:: Typical day

:: Chimney Rock

:: Scott's Bluff

:: Mitchell’s Pass

:: North Platte River crossing

:: Fort Laramie

:: Laramie Peak

:: Donner-Reed Party & Donner Pass

:: Independence Rock

:: South Pass

:: Women crossing (Narcissa Whitman & Eliza Hart Spalding)

:: Women and babies

:: Children on the trail (Spalding family)

:: Soda Springs

:: Fort Hall

:: Fort Boise

:: Flagstaff Hill

:: Blue Mountains

:: The Dalles

:: Columbia River

:: Oregon City

:: Willamette Valley

:: First years after arrival

:: Homestead Act of 1862

:: Oregon exclusion laws

:: Long-term impacts and Native Americans

:: Transcontinental Railroad


This Virtual Field Trip Includes:

:: Informational Text (build background knowledge)

:: Response Questions (EDITABLE)

:: Google Earth™ Links to 360-degree views

:: Video Links

:: Grading Rubric

:: Everything is set up in Google Slides & ready to go!




How it Works:

This virtual field trip can be conducted teacher-led or shared with students through Google Classroom as an independent assignment. Everything is set up for you. This resource is LOW PREP and would even make great sub plans. Student directions are found within the lesson, and direct links are included to specific Google Earth™ locations and videos. All work is completed digitally. No printing necessary.



This virtual field trip is structured. This means that the informational text and links are meaningful and are meant to lead students to think critically as they respond to the questions throughout the virtual field trip. This is also a great way to keep students accountable as they learn and explore. All response questions are EDITABLE, so you can tailor to your class needs. Students complete this activity in edit mode of Google Slides.


Standards Alignment:

:: Common Core Standards for Reading Informational Text

:: Washington State Social Studies Standards


Grading Rubric:

A grading rubric is included which assesses: accuracy, thoroughness, validity, and writing conventions. Answers will vary throughout, as students are recording their observations and findings.



Please note that students will need to access Google Earth™ and YouTube to complete this assignment. Google Earth™ can be accessed on a desktop using Chrome as the browser. If using a tablet or smartphone, simply download the Google Earth App before starting the virtual field trip.


If you have questions, feel free to reach out prior to purchasing. Looking for another virtual field trip that you don’t see? Let me know! I can be reached directly by email at:


Thank you!

Michelle McDonald, B.A.E.

Social Studies Education, K-12

Elementary Education K-8

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Oregon Trail: Virtual Field Trip (Google Earth Exploration)

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