Transcontinental Railroad-Choo Choo

Transcontinental Railroad. Late 1800s. 6th grade curriculum. 12 year olds who would rather be talking with their friends, facebooking, going to the movies. Do you see where I’m headed with this? I had to do SOMETHING that would keep them engaged. I wanted them to know:

1. How hard it was to build

2. How it felt to be mistreated 

3. How important it was to our country

Definitely got the 1st 2 across and hope they understood the 3rd one as well. 🙂

Each student had to wear a name card identifying who they were while building their part of the railroad. An apology to the Chinese immigrants who were treated unfairly.



The bottom railroad was made by one class who had more time to work while the top one was made by the class who didn’t have as much time.

It was ORGANIZED CHAOS in our room. 🙂

They had rulers to measure the paper, and I wrote the measurements on the board of what they needed to do.

However, here is a bit of wisdom.

DO NOT ASSUME that they all know how to measure with rulers. 

DO NOT ASSUME that they can do this by reading measurements on the board.

I think I will make a section of the track in front of them next year before I let them go at it. 🙂

It’s amazing the things I learn each day from my students!!

It ended up being an engaging activity that I will have them do every year that I teach history!