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Oregon Trail Simulation A Westward Adventure!
Pioneer Students Today, you will be pioneers who want to settle in a new area of land known as the Oregon Territory Pioneers were early settlers in a new area of land. (A. K. A. ) “Trail blazers”
The Oregon Trail 2000 miles long Missouri to Oregon Travel Challenges: Difficult terrain Lack of supplies Disease / Illness Attacks from Native Americans
The Story… Your name is Alex P. Keaton, a factory worker from Baltimore, Maryland. You have saved up enough money ($100 total) to travel to the Oregon Country and take your entire family with you. You know that one out of every ten people die on the Oregon Trail, but want to travel it anyway. You desire your own land for you and your family. Your adventure begins in Independence, Missouri where you have bought wagons and are ready to travel west. Your goal is to reach Oregon alive but before the winter season begins…
Travel Power First things first, you need an animal to pull your covered wagon. Which do you choose? A) Horses B) Oxen C) Mules
Travel Power A) Horses – Although fast they would most likely die of starvation – unless you gave them your food! Minus 5 points. B) Oxen – Although slow, it turns out these are the least expensive and will survive under almost any condition. Plus 5 points. C) Mules – Faster than oxen but often stubborn. You lose time trying to get them to move. Plus 3 points.
Limited Room As you pack your covered wagon you realize you have too much stuff. Of the three choices below, which would you decide to leave behind? A) A can of coffee B) Frying pan C) Your personal Bible
Limited Room Choice A) Coffee isn’t necessary but was a good bargaining item. People would trade coffee for other foods or services. Plus 4 points Choice B) You need this for cooking unless you want to put all of your food on a stick to cook it. Plus 2 points Choice C) Most travelers on the Oregon Trail decided not to travel on Sundays. Instead, they would hold worship services and rest. If you didn’t you may come across other travelers who will call you a heathen and throw things at you. Plus 1 point
Mountain Man (Travel guide)
Travel Guide A mountain man who has traveled the Oregon Trail before has offered to be your travel guide for a small fee of $45 of your $100 dollars. What do you do? A) Hire him and pay him $45 on the spot B) Hire him but only pay him $25 now and $20 when you arrive in Oregon Country. C) Tell him “Thanks, but no thanks. ”
Travel Guide A) With his expertise and knowledge you will most likely travel quicker and safer. Except you don’t realize he’ll leave with the money half way through… Plus 2 points. B) Same as “Choice A” but he’ll travel the entire trail to get all of his money. Plus 5 points. C) Being from the east coast you are what many would call a “city boy” and your lack of knowledge will slow you down. Minus 5 points.
Kansas River Branch
Kansas River You’ve approached the Kansas River. The river is 200 yards wide with often rapid and deep currents. – what will you do next? A) Pay $10 of your total $100 to have a ferry cross you over the river B) Try to cross it yourself to save the money C) Ride along side of the river and wait for a better crossing spot
Kansas River Choice A) You reach the other side safely but have less money. Plus 5 points. Choice B) One of your children falls off the wagon and is swept away by the current and drowns. Minus 5 points. Choice C) You eventually find an easier crossing path, but lost a couple of days travel time. However, nobody died. Plus 2 points.
Ash Hollow (Valley)
Ash Hollow (Valley) This is the first steep downward slope you come across. What will you do? A) Load everybody up on the wagon and ride down holding on tight, then allow the oxen to catch up. B) Avoid the downward slope by traveling around the hollow valley. C) Detach the oxen and tie them up. You will use rope to slowly lower the wagon down the slope.
Ash Hollow (Valley) Choice A) Are you kidding me? You would all probably die! But for the sake of the game, we’ll say you’re all badly hurt. Minus 5 points. Choice B) The safe way keeps everyone alive, but you lose two weeks time traveling the long way around the valley. Minus 2 points. Choice C) This took a lot of work, but was the best approach to traveling down this valley. Plus 5 points.
Scott’s Bluff As you reach the Platte River, you pass a high cliff. You stop for the night but there is no wood to burn. What do you do? Choice A) Force the children to pick up Buffalo chips (droppings) to burn for fire. Choice B) You decide you do not need a fire tonight and go without firewood. Choice C) You take a few planks of wood off of the wagon and burn some of your wives extra clothes for a fire.
Scott’s Bluff Choice A) Surprise! People actually did this on the Oregon trail. It burned well and did not make a bad smell. Who knew? Plus 5 points Choice B) Though nobody died from lack of fire, your grandmother caught pneumonia from the cold and is hacking everywhere. Minus 3 points Choice C) Bad idea. Your wagon is now damaged & your wife is really mad at you. Minus 5 points
Independence Rock It's the 4 th July and many other travelers have stopped at a huge rock that looks like a giant whale. What do you do? A) Keep going! You want to get ahead of everybody else and get there sooner. B) Stop and join the celebration for 2 -3 days C) Stop and join the celebration for a weeks rest
Independence Rock A) Your entire family becomes mad at you and forces you to turn around. You lose a lot of time having to backtrack. Minus 2 points. B) The family is happy after patriotic singing, dancing, and picnic lunches. Bonus -- you did not stay too long! Plus 5 points. C) It was fun, but you stayed a too long. Your brother became drunken and picked a fight with a guy twice his size. Bad idea. He is beat up and cannot help steer the animals. Minus 3 points.
Sweetwater River You camp near the river because it is a lush area with good water and grass for the animals. However, in the evening, Native Americans attack. What do you do? A) Send out one person to try and make peace. B) Fight back! C) Circle the wagons together and hide in the middle of them.
Sweetwater River Choice A) Your Grandfather was immediately killed with a tomahawk trying to make peace. Unprepared for battle, 5 others die. Minus 5 points. Choice B) You successfully killed six natives before they left. However, it came at a cost – your oldest son and brother died in the battle. Minus 3 points. Choice C) You protected yourself, but the natives set one of your wagons on fire. One person died before the natives left. Minus 2 points.
South Pass As you cross the Continental Divide, your brother-in-law is suddenly ill. You believe he may have the Cholera illness. What do you do? A) Take the short detour to Fort Bridger where they may be able to help him. B) Leave him on the side of the trail to die. You don’t want anybody else to get sick. C) Stop and wait for him to either get better or die of the illness.
South Pass A) Turns out there is no cure for Cholera! He not only dies but two of your cousins get sick and die too. Minus 5 points. B) Sadly, this is the best option. Nobody else gets sick and you don’t lose any time. He probably didn’t suffer for long… Plus 5 points. C) He died the next day but as you waited looters robbed your campsite at night and stole food and supplies. Minus 2 points.
Fort Hall Although this isn't the nicest fort you've stopped at, it does sell fresh vegetables, which you've not had since the trip began. However, bison (buffalos) are also near. What do you do? A) Spend $10 to buy enough food for a week. B) Hunt the buffalo that are near the fort. C) Buy vegetables and hunt buffalo.
Fort Hall Choice A) You now have enough food for a week until you reach another outpost or hunting ground. Plus 5 points. Choice B) You now have plenty of food but can only eat it that night. Otherwise, the meat would go bad and you’d get sick. Plus 3 points. Choice C) This seems very smart, but it takes awhile to do both and turns out you don’t have enough room to carry everything! Plus 1 point.
Grande Ronde Valley
Grande Ronde Valley As you are getting closer you come across a beautifully lush valley with berries everywhere. What do you do? A) Forget the berries and keep traveling. B) Slow down to have the children pick berries but don’t stop in the valley. C) Spend several days picking fruit and resting.
Grande Ronde Valley A) Not needing any berries you didn’t need to waste any time. Plus 5 points. B) The children did not know poisoned berries from healthy ones. Because you were in a rush to keep going many of your family are sick. Your great aunt Ethel even dies! Minus 3 points. C) The berries and rest were enjoyable but you lost time and were caught in a storm with no protection in the valley. Plus 2 points.
Barlow Road You can use the road through the valley but pay a $5 toll or pay a boatman $10 and raft down the Columbia River. What do you do? A) Take the Barlow Toll Road in the valley B) Raft down the Columbia River C) Sneak onto the toll road at night without paying the fee…
Barlow Road A) The road turns out to be dangerous and plunges down cliffs. You slow your wagon by wrapping rope around trees to gently guide it down the steep incline. Plus 3 points. B) This turns out to be a quick route but one of your daughters is bitten by a poisonous water snake and soon dies. Plus 2 points. C) Not a good idea. The toll collectors catch you and attempt to hang you. You survive by paying them double and leaving them an oxen. Minus 5 points.
Willamette Valley You've reached your destination in the Oregon Territory and it's as beautiful as you‘ve heard! What will you do next? A) Continue traveling south to California B) Build a house and farm or try to start a business. C) Travel back east and work as a travel guide along the Oregon Trail.
Willamette Valley A) Unfortunately California is still ruled by Spain. Angry Spaniards chase you off their land back to Oregon Territory. Minus 5 points. B) Good idea! That’s what most people did. Plus 5 points. C) A select few would choose this since they increased their chances of dying by traveling back and fourth. Plus 2 points.