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The emphasis on standards testing has caused teachers to make tough choices over what they teach and how much class time they spend teaching it. We find it difficult sometimes to locate relevant instructional materials that pique student interest, cover standards-based content, and provide students with opportunities to practice problem-solving skills and higher level thinking. The Interact simulation PIONEERS is a standards-based program that addresses National History and English Language Arts Standards and 21 century skills. As important, the simulation engages students in collaborative work and decision making.
In PIONEERS, students simulate situations and events similar to those experienced by Americans who headed west in wagon trains between 1840 and 1870 along the Oregon and California trails. Students face challenges ranging from floods and droughts to blocked trails, wild animals, and shortages of food. When encountering Native Americans, students analyze the situation and set a possible course of action. Then, as the scenario unfolds, they analyze the consequences of their decision. These activities provide the students with a realistic view of pioneer life. Students make similar decisions as groups and individuals concerning water rights, which trail to take, and how to handle daily problems on a wagon train. True to life, students experience “Fate” events that might have occurred going West putting them directly involved in the journey. The simulation concludes with students either reaching for failing to reach their destination in Oregon.
PIONEERS consists of 15 lessons, each designed to take one class period. However, the unit is flexible and many lessons can be used as stand-alone activities to meet your scheduling needs. Like all Interact units, PIONEERS provides differentiated instruction in the various learning activities. Teachers can adjust the level of difficulty as best meets the needs of their students in assignments and assessment. The unit contains Challenge Projects, which further expand skills and knowledge and can be easily incorporated into the simulation. PIONEERS also has pre and post test assessments and numerous activity rubrics.
If you'd like to order PIONEERS, visit TeachInteract.com.