Third Graders in Tahoe Learn About the Donner Party, First Hand

If the Donner Party had been equipped with sturdier covered wagons, would more of them have survived their infamous journey over Donner Summit in the winter of 1847? And how would you build a stronger wagon? The Tamarack crew had a chance to answer these questions during their first semester learning expedition, an in-depth study of westward expansion during the pioneer days. They looked into local events, people, and innovations during this time period. Drawing from historical and community resources, students studied the ways in which the pioneer period left its mark on Truckee.

TEA Chuatauqua 2017 1As a component of the learning expedition, students were tasked to research, write, and perform Chautauquas in front of a live audience of parents and staff. Their challenge: Become a character from the pioneer movement. Costumes, accents, and props helped bring the personalities to life. Students researched members of the Donner Party and the subsequent events of their perilous struggle on Donner Summit. In STEAM lab, they recreated aspects of covered wagons to be better suited to the demands of the trail.

In the end, students gained a deeper knowledge about human experiences throughout that time period and developed a true sense of respect for our early settlers. Through the Chautauqua presentations, the Tamarack crew went back in time and experienced westward expansion first hand.

Meet Moses Shallenberger, a teenage boy who survived the winter of 1845 alone at Donner Lake, 170 years ago.

Additional Photo Highlights From the Chautauquas

Related Posts

Character

How do we develop collaboration, creativity, and perseverance at our high school? We start with a long piece of...

Character

At first, it was just supposed to rain. Then the weather made a turn for the worse. But this crew of 4th-graders was...

Character

Nothing quite like kicking off the school year with an event that brings our whole communiTEA together to experience a...

Character

These 3 and 4 year-olds demonstrate community, responsibility, and caring for the natural world while learning to stay safe...

Latest Posts

Character

How do we develop collaboration, creativity, and perseverance at our high school? We start with a long piece of...

Clubs

In Blacksmithing, participants will gain an appreciation for the skills, physical demands and challenges blacksmiths and...

Clubs

Spanish Club with the acclaimed language teacher, Victor Zevallos. In this six week offering, students will gain confidence...

Clubs

Spanish Club 2 with acclaimed language teacher, Victor Zevallos. Students taking Spanish Club 2 must have completed Spanish...

image